Abu Dhabi

The Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi (DCD), the regulatory authority overseeing the social sector in Abu Dhabi, has revealed the remarkable achievements of volunteer efforts in 2023. A total of 873,787 hours of general volunteer work were recorded, reflecting a significant 63% increase from the last year, delivered through 1,185 volunteer opportunities. This notable feat translated to a value of AED 62,912,000 of volunteer work in 2023.

H.E. Mohamed Helal Al Balooshi, Executive Director of the Community Engagement and Sports sector at DCD, stated that as the regulatory authority for volunteering and third sector, the Department has focused considerable efforts to develop the necessary strategic and regulatory frameworks to foster a strong and sustainable volunteering ecosystem across Abu Dhabi. These frameworks align with international best practices and aim to establish an integrated system, actively encouraging and supporting community members in their participation within society and fostering the development of an inclusive and cohesive community.

Al Balooshi said: “Exceeding volunteering engagement expectations could not have been possible without cooperation and coordination of partners across government, private, and third sectors who are dedicated to enhancing the volunteering ecosystem and encouraging individuals and volunteer teams to engage in delivering impact for the community. The DCD aims to achieve this by creating a safe, transparent, and effective volunteering environment and spreading awareness of the importance of volunteer work as a key social priority.”

Al Balooshi continued: “The DCD worked with the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an, the Emirates Foundation, and the Emirates Red Crescent, among other key stakeholders, to bridge gaps in volunteer work. It also cooperated and coordinated with numerous leading institutions in the field of volunteer work to enhance the supportive environment for volunteers. This will contribute to preserving rights and defining duties for all volunteers, including individuals, volunteer teams, and entities that wish to attract volunteers. The department is working to update and review its volunteering policy, which is expected to be announced in 2024, with the aim of creating a more enabling volunteering environment so that more individuals can participate in volunteer work.”

Al Balooshi added that he appreciates the efforts made by every volunteer, stressing that everyone is a partner in continuing to achieve necessary social outcomes across Abu Dhabi.

The economic value of volunteer work in Abu Dhabi

The DCD also announced the hourly economic value of general volunteer work in the emirate to be AED 72, in a step that is the first of its kind in the UAE. This was achieved through DCD’s collaboration with the Emirates Foundation, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an and the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD).

Globally, volunteerism constitutes an important factor contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) and is considered a major driver for bolstering individual and institutional impact on social and economic development. In Abu Dhabi, and based on the hourly economic value of volunteering, the total value of general volunteer work in 2023 amounted to more than AED 62,912,000.

The department's goal is to simplify the process of calculating the economic value of volunteering in Abu Dhabi, taking into account international best practices and adapting them to the existing volunteer system. The DCD’s unified methodology for calculating the economic value of volunteer work in Abu Dhabi helps provide an accurate and tangible picture of the impact of giving and volunteers on society.

In this regard, H.E. Al Balooshi said: “We are fully aware that volunteering has profound social value, but our ability today to calculate the value of general volunteer work for the first time in Abu Dhabi accurately and concretely reflects the importance of volunteering and the great socioeconomic impact that volunteers have on our society.”

He added: "This will help motivate institutions and individuals in Abu Dhabi to provide support and the necessary resources, increase the impact of volunteers, and recognize the scope of their contributions across the emirate."

H.E. Ahmed Al Shamsi, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said: “Each year we see a significant rise in the number of volunteers in Abu Dhabi which shows the community members' unwavering commitment to helping those less fortunate. I would like to commend the Department of Community Development for its success in empowering so many people to help make the world a better place. At Emirates Foundation, we are immensely proud of the collaborations we have undertaken in these efforts and look forward to being part of another year of positive impact and change.”


Her Excellency Fatema Abdulla Almarzouqi, Community Engagement & Volunteering Executive Director, The Authority of Social Contribution - Ma’an said "As an Abu Dhabi Government entity operating under the Department of Community Development, the Authority of Social contribution – Ma’an aims to amplify the development of an engaged and collaborative community within the city of Abu Dhabi. Volunteers are fundamental to achieving a collaborative community, and we persistently provide volunteering opportunities and build their  capabilities enabling them to address key social priorities in the UAE capital. In doing so, volunteers will personally benefit as active members of their communities, as well as contribute to driving genuine social impact and enhancing the wellbeing of Abu Dhabi community.

In addition to developing a unified methodology to calculate the economic value of volunteer work in Abu Dhabi, the DCD is working to develop a methodology to determine the value of volunteer work in specialised fields at the emirate level.

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