Dubai: The Year of Giving gave a much-needed boost to volunteering in Dubai that witnessed a massive increase in the number of volunteers, volunteering hours, and opportunities in 2017 compared to the previous year and that could continue to grow this year.
The number of volunteers registered with the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai in 2017 jumped by 278 per cent, from 1,437 in 2016 to 5,436 in 2017, according to CDA figures sent to Gulf News.
The CDA expects this upward trend to continue as a response to the ‘Day for Dubai’ initiative, launched by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.
The initiative aims to boost social responsibility among Dubai’s citizens and to reinforce the culture of volunteerism to give back even just one day of service to Dubai.
Apart from the number of volunteers, the number of hours of service increased by 40 per cent from 62,468 to 87,450 in 2017.
To put that number in perspective, it is like working non-stop for 3,644 days or almost 10 years.
The volunteering hours had an equivalent financial savings of Dh4,872,504 in 2016 and Dh6,821,100 in 2017, an increase of 40 per cent.
Huraiz Al Mur Bin Huraiz, CEO of Social Care and Development Sector at CDA, said the authority is in the process of announcing new initiatives to further spread the volunteering culture among the different society sectors and to encourage more individuals as well as groups from same interests to participate in volunteering work.
“Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad highlighted during his recent visit to CDA the importance of volunteering in building societies and enhancing cohesion among its members. Shaikh Hamdan also directed CDA to promote volunteering as a noble community value rooted in the UAE people and to effectively ensure the involvement of all members of society,” Bin Huraiz said.
“The ‘Day for Dubai’ initiative launched by the end of last year by Shaikh Hamdan inspired a wide spectrum of society members to learn more about volunteering opportunities and its advantages either for individuals or corporates,” he added.
Some 262 companies also joined the programme in 2017 to provide volunteering opportunities, which indicates better consciousness among corporates on the importance of investing volunteering work to achieve financial saving.
In 2017, CDA established a comprehensive awareness campaign on the importance of volunteering work for individuals and companies and the role played by volunteers in bridging gaps in the social services and achieving significant financial savings for the volunteering opportunity providers.
The CDA team paid more than 60 visits to universities, government institutions and private sector companies which participated in various events and held a number of public lectures and seminars.