Abu Dhabi

The Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD), in collaboration with the Authority of social Contribution – Ma’an, has launched a social innovation competition to promote awareness about the positive impact of social innovation on societal wellbeing.

Called UNIVATE (Universities innovate) within the framework of social innovation, the contest aims to encourage higher education students to leverage their innovative ideas and initiatives to solve Abu Dhabi’s societal challenges and raising the well-being and quality of life. Running for three months, the contest is open to all higher education institutes in Abu Dhabi and offers motivational prizes for winners.

Commenting on the initiative, Her Excellency Shaikha Alhosani, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring & Innovation Sector at DCD, said: “UNIVATE contest articulates our methodology of collaboration and cooperation with the community to achieve our ever-ambitious objective of elevating the well-being, in line with the department’s vision to achieve a dignified life for all members of the community."

Alhosani added: “Home to more than 150 nationalities, Abu Dhabi’s diversity creates a unique opportunity to generate innovative ideas and fresh approaches to our evolving social challenges. In conducting this innovative contest, we seek to harness our youth's immense potentials to design unconventional solutions to such challenges, while catering to the real needs of the society.”

For his part, His Excellency Faisal Al Hamoudi, Executive Director for Social Incubator and Contracting at Ma’an, said: “At Ma’an, we encourage the development of innovative solutions to tackle various social priorities of Abu Dhabi Emirate. Through the Ma’an Social Incubator, we have supported over 64 start-ups and social entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we are working closely with our partners on initiatives that deliver a positive impact on various segments of society.”

Al Hamoudi added: “Our partnership with DCD to launch UNIVATE social innovation contest is the latest example of our commitment to leveraging the synergy between the two organisations in supporting social innovation and empowering the third sector. We are confident that the higher education students in Abu Dhabi possess the skills and abilities needed to demonstrate innovative ideas that support the strategic objectives of the social sector."

DCD has formed an elite committee comprising leading social sector experts to evaluate the ideas and detailed proposals received from the participants. Qualified candidates will then need to develop detailed proposals on the methods of implementing their ideas, which will be evaluated on parameters such as relevance, uniqueness, their value, feasibility of implementation, practicality and their potential impact. Finally, the winning ideas will be implemented by DCD or its partners that include government entities focused on the social sector, private entities or NGOs.

To be held annually, the competition will focus on a different social challenge in each edition, with the first phase to be dedicated to the cohesion of Abu Dhabi's multicultural society.

Application for UNIVATE is open and students can participate in the competition by registering through the website, https://www.shorturl.at/cmDO5

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