The Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with World Enabled consulting group, a pioneer in the field of disability inclusive development, organised a training and capacity-building programme titled “Mainstreaming Disability in Policies and Programmes”, which comes as part of the initiatives of the empowerment pillar that is led by DCD within the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination.
The programme aims to spread awareness, build knowledge, and improve skills and behaviors on mainstreaming disability in programmes and policies, which positively contributes to promoting inclusion and empowerment of people of determination and emphasises DCD’s role in supporting the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination through enabling initiatives targeting the emirate’s ecosystem.
Her Excellency Dr. Layla Al Hayas, Acting Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, said: “Mainstreaming disability in programmes and policies is a major guiding principle in the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination. It comes in line with what is stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Removing environmental, organisational, and behavioral barriers that prevent the participation and inclusion of people of determination, requires all public, private, and third sector entities to accommodate the needs of people of determination in policies, programmes, services, and products that target the society at large. This training programme, which was organised by DCD, aligns with the department’s interest to raise awareness about the rights of people of determination and stresses that the concerted efforts of all parties involved is key to achieve our unified vision of having an inclusive society in Abu Dhabi.”
Al Hayas pointed out that the programme was co-designed by experts from World Enabled consulting group and DCD, discussing concepts, practices, tools and case studies in the field of disability inclusive development and mainstreaming disability in policies and programmes. She noted that the goal is to reach a common understanding on how to achieve inclusion for people of determination, and how to empower entities with the necessary skills to make their policies and programmes inclusive for the people of determination.
Al Hayas added: “The Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination has accomplished a lot in advancing the agenda of integrating people of determination, thanks to concerted efforts with partners from the public, private and third sectors in Abu Dhabi. This motivates us to continue our endeavors to empower and activate the role of people of determination and their families in transitioning towards an inclusive society, and creating an environment that guarantees equality in rights, services, and opportunities for all members of society at all stages of life.”
The training programme included three seminars and one training workshop. The first seminar titled "A Win-Win in Building An Equitable & Inclusive Abu Dhabi”, held in November, targeted the private sector in healthcare, banking, retail and sales, culture, arts, fashion, tourism, sports, entertainment, and technology. Participants included Standard Chartered Bank, Mubadala, Microsoft, Google, and Aldar Properties, as well as third sector entities, such as the Emirates Autism Society, Sidra Foundation, Butterfly Foundation, and Hemmah Foundation. This seminar highlighted the role of the two sectors in achieving the inclusion of people of determination by enhancing their participation in the labor market, adopting best practices in the field of inclusive employment, and through designing services and products in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.
The second seminar focused on a working paper that was presented by DCD during the World Down Syndrome Congress in November 2021 under the title “Disability Inclusive Development: Achieving our Collective Vision for an Accessible and Inclusive Abu Dhabi”, which targeted service providers, government entities, and people of determination and their families. The paper highlighted the importance of achieving inclusion for people of determination with Down Syndrome and addressed the barriers they face in the fields of healthcare, education, employment and community integration, and ways of eliminating them by mainstreaming disability in policies and programmes.
The third seminar titled “Towards an inclusive Abu Dhabi empowering People of Determination: How To Tell The Story” which was held virtually in December 2021, discussed ways of creating inclusive media and communication strategies to improve inclusivity and empowerment for people of determination in Abu Dhabi. The seminar targeted the media sector and communication teams in government entities, in consideration of the key role they play in raising awareness about the rights of people of determination, and their endeavors towards achieving the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination. This seminar also provided practical concepts and tools to empower stakeholders in creating targeted messages and designing educational and media content that promotes non-discrimination, social acceptance, and empowerment for people of determination, which eliminates misconceptions and stereotypes, and endorses respect for human diversity.
Additionally, DCD organised a 5-day training workshop at the Park Rotana Hotel, in participation of members from 16 government entities involved in implementing the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination, and in charge of developing policies, programmes and services within their entities. The workshop aimed at building knowledge, skills, and behaviors of participants to become trainers within their entities to mainstream disability in programmes and policies developed. This will ensure inclusion for people of determination and their access to equal opportunities in all activities and services provided to the community, thus creating a sustainable and long-term impact even after the end of the strategy period.
The workshop was attended by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, Department of Education and Knowledge, Human Resources Authority, Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, Department of Municipalities and Transport, DCD, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Housing Authority, Abu Dhabi Ports, Department of Culture and Tourism, Family Development Foundation, Abu Dhabi Center for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care - Ewaa, Authority of Social Contribution - Ma’an, Abu Dhabi School of Government, Abu Dhabi Executive Council, in addition to a number of people of determination from these entities.
Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched in September 2020, the Abu Dhabi Comprehensive Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024, with the participation of more than 28 relevant local and federal government entities, led by DCD.
The strategy aims to make the emirate an inclusive, ready, and empowering city for people of determination, in line with the department's vision of providing a dignified life for all members of society. The strategy includes five main objectives – including the enhancement of the culture of society based on the rights of people of determination, activating the role of people of determination and their families and empowering them by involving them in the process of transition towards an inclusive society, creating an environment that allows equal access for people of determination to rights, services and opportunities at all stages of life, ensuring the provision of comprehensive and high-quality services in the governmental, private and third sectors, and the development of a sustainable, data- and evidence-based social development framework for people of determination and their families.
The strategy also emphasizes the principle of leadership, participation, and representation for people of determination in line with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
DCD considers people of determination as an integral part of this community and an essential element in its development. Therefore, Abu Dhabi's strategy for People of Determination seeks to empower them and raise their quality of life, thus contribute to achieving the vision of the emirate. Through its vision, the department strives to provide a decent standard of living for all members of the community and is keen on including various groups by ensuring the mobilization of their capabilities and achieving their maximum potential, to contribute to the development of Abu Dhabi. This will enhance the role of individuals in the comprehensive and sustainable development process of the emirate in various domains.