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New law will help boost volunteering in Dubai

Volunteering numbers during first quarter of 2018 is already more than one-third of last year’s numbers

Volunteers assembling back to school kits Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News ARCHIVES

Dubai: The new law on volunteering in Dubai will further boost the culture of giving among residents in the UAE and is a one-of-a-kind protection for both volunteers and beneficiaries, a senior official said on Monday.

Law No. 5 of 2018 was issued on Sunday regulating volunteering work in the emirate on Sunday to set controls that will motivate and protect volunteers.

Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA) has been given a number of specialisations and jurisdictions regarding voluntary work to draw up plans and public policies for voluntary work in Dubai and supervise their implementation, among others.

Hana Bakkar Al Harthi, director of Social Cohesion Department at CDA, said the new law provides a road map to develop the culture of volunteerism in the emirate that is not yet seen in any other country.

“Based on our benchmark, we have not seen any laws anywhere specifically assigned for volunteerism that governs and protects volunteers and entities. The new law has eliminated any grey areas in the relationship between the individual volunteer and the entity [beneficiary],” Al Harthi told Gulf News.

“Having a law that governs such a sensitive topic like volunteerism is a great step that we see for the future of volunteerism in Dubai and the UAE,” she added.

Al Harthi said she is positive that the new law will encourage more residents to do their bit for the community.

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, some 1,200 new volunteers — or 17 volunteers per day — stepped up to give back to society. Their volunteering hours contributed a savings of Dh3.9 million. In 2017, the volunteers clocked in a total of 88,872 hours, equivalent to a savings of Dh6.9 million.

To put the 2017 figure in perspective, it is like working non-stop for 3,703 days or a little over 10 years.

“In the first three months of 2018, we accomplished more than one-third of the volunteering hours we had in 2017. So the number is very promising this year Insha Allah. With this decree, I think we will not only be talking about thousands of volunteering hours but hundreds of thousands,” Al Harthi said.

Volunteering has received tremendous boost since CDA first organised it in 2009 with just 20 volunteers to more than 12,000 volunteers now registered in the Dubai Volunteer App.

Al Harthi said CDA will soon launch the revamped app. They will also work into “liaising between all relevant parties on how to make volunteerism a part of the DNA of every organisation and individual living in Dubai.”

This article first appeared on GulfNews.com