The Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD), in cooperation with the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and private sector partners, has launched the pilot phase of the Tegahwa initiative. The first digital platform of its kind in the emirate aims to raise awareness about the importance of seeking professional help at the first signs of conflict to reduce divorce rates during the early stages of marriage.
Her Excellency Dr Layla Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at DCD, noted that the platform has been designed based on the results of research conducted by the Department, which show that approximately 62 percent of Emirati couples in Abu Dhabi face divorce during the first four years of marriage.
Her Excellency added that the studies also shed light on the causes of divorce in the emirate that include poor communication and conflict resolution skills, lack of quality time spent together, and a delay or reluctance in seeking marriage counselling.
Dr Al Hyas said: “Tegahwa aims to provide support and guidance to couples who encounter issues in communicating, understanding and resolving conflicts, in addition to difficulties related to raising children, which may lead to differences of opinion between spouses.”
Tegahwa is a traditional Emirati word, rooted in authentic customs, that means discussing important matters and addressing challenges between the two families of the spouses. The pilot phase of the platform will be run by family relations specialists from the private sector, including Takalam Online Counselling, Yas Island, and Maudsley Health, under the supervision of FDF.
She added that Tegahwa provides a comfortable environment that guarantees confidentiality and privacy and is tailored to couples’ needs. The easily accessible platform incorporates a set of innovative elements, such as personalised motivational text messages for couples based on their data, and a reward system that seeks to strengthen family bonds through offering suggestions for various recreational activities for couples and children to spend quality time together.
Her excellency clarified that evaluating the platform’s effectiveness based on approved and measurable indicators is one of the key objectives of the pilot phase that will support the expansion and sustainability of the project.
Tegahwa is a result of DCD’s ongoing research efforts, such as the Quality of Life (QOL) survey, now in its third edition, which help identify challenges facing the community and develop feasible solutions. The initiative contributes to achieving the Department’s vision of providing dignified life for every member of the community, in addition to enhancing family cohesion, improving societal well-being, and increasing the happiness of citizens and residents of Abu Dhabi.
Wafaa Al Ali, Director of the Family Guidance and Consultations Administration at FDF, said: "This partnership with DCD to develop Tegahwa initiative aims to enhance and consolidate family cohesion and resolve disputes between spouses in the early stages of marriage, in addition to providing support and guidance for couples facing difficulties in communicating with each other, in order to raise happy children, build a close-knit family, and build a community that enjoys a higher quality of life.”
She explained that Tegahwa platform is an innovative idea that contributes to the development of the social sector in Abu Dhabi, and will be highly praised, given the confidence of all members of society in the various programmes and services DCD and FDF provides. Both entities seek to develop mechanisms of joint work that contributes to building future plans that highlights the most pressing and potential challenges, to improve the social sector efficiency.
Al Ali added: “FDF is keen to provide psychological and social counseling and guidance to couples through Tegahwa platform, which takes proactive steps aimed primarily at protecting married life from complications that obstruct the stability and progress of families for the better, while maintaining complete privacy and confidentiality for applicants of the service.”
The Director of the Family Guidance and Consultations Administration at FDF shed light on the need to make the most of the incentive programmes of Teqahwa platform, developed to enhance communications between family members and the community, and bridges emotional gaps, caused by preoccupation of one party in the family, whether it is for work, study or life requirements, especially in light of these extraordinary global circumstances.
The Tegahwa platform is available at https://tegahwa.ae