Abu Dhabi

Three winning ideas were honoured at the Award Day for the Department of Community Development’s (DCD) social innovation competition, UNIVATE.

The goal of UNIVATE, held in collaboration with the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an, is to spread awareness about social challenges in Abu Dhabi, improve the well-being and quality of life of the people who live in the Emirate, and promote the building of a multi-cultural, cohesive community that embraces diversity.

UNIVATE received 47 submissions from over 90 students in Abu Dhabi’s leading higher education institutions, such as Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology, Khalifa University, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

The first-place winner was a concept called Makan, by Khawla Abdullatif Alhammadi, which proposed an app that allows guests to book stays at traditional Emirati homes and farms. The app would offer residents and tourists the chance to smoothly book an authentic and educational experience and facilitate the process for Emiratis who are keen to share their culture and homes.

In second place was the idea for an app called Dhabyani - by Mahreen Munir, Gabriel Xavier Basques Soares, and Aisha Omar Salim Lihwaidi Al Ali, who proposed a friend matching algorithm to connect potential friends and assign them a local volunteering event to attend together. Their target audience is Abu Dhabi students aged between 17 – 22, who are looking to meet friends from various cultures, engage with the community, and help others while doing so.

-The third-place winner was the idea for the Community Mentorship Program by Ayah Mohamad Miqdady, which would connect residents who are familiar with Abu Dhabi with new expats with the aim of offering guidance and support in the form of practical advice about finding housing and enrolling in schools, in addition to emotional support and guidance on cultural customs and expectations.

“At the DCD, we have been impressed by the creativity that the participating students have shown through the UNIVATE contest, and we are very proud of the profound innovative thinking skills which the students were able to demonstrate during the proposals presentation day” said Her Excellency Shaikha Alhosani, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring & Innovation Sector at DCD.

 “The three winning ideas all focus on social connection and the strengthening of ties -among the diverse communities that live in Abu Dhabi. These students have tapped into and understood the DCD’s goals – which are to uplift community cohesion and provide a dignified life for everyone who lives in Abu Dhabi. We’re eager to explore how these brilliant ideas can be implemented by the DCD for the benefit of all those who live in the Emirate.”

The winning individuals and teams received in-kind monetary rewards, and the winners’ solutions will be implemented by the DCD or its partners, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

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