The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR), in coordination with the Ministry of Community Development, has launched a guide to volunteering in the work environment of government entities. The new guide is aimed at familiarizing the ministries and federal bodies with the concept of workplace. The move comes as part of the ongoing efforts to make volunteering one of the fundamental principles of community service by engaging the Federal Government employees in all corporate volunteering initiatives and activities available across the UAE and within the framework of the Federal Government employees’ annual volunteering program.
The Guide to Volunteering in the Federal Entities’ Work Environment was launched during a workshop recently organized by FAHR in Dubai, in the presence of HE Dr Abulrahman Al Awar, Director General of FAHR, HE Sanaa Suhail, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Community Development, HE Aisha Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of Human Resource Policy Sector, FAHR, along with representatives of all ministries and federal bodies.
Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar: "Zayed will remain the role model of goodness and giving"
In his speech during the workshop, HE Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Awar said that the UAE ranks high on a global level in humanitarian, community service and volunteer work for the benefit of all mankind, thanks to the vision and efforts of the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who will remain a symbol of humanitarian action and giving, not only in the Gulf region and in the Arab world, but also in the whole world. In his reign, the UAE has become a leader in international humanitarian action, a role model for giving, helping and sacrificing.
He said that the wise leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum continued to follow in the footsteps of the Founding Father the late Sheikh Zayed, quoting His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed as saying: "The UAE is the country of giving and the Emirati people are the children of Zayed Al-Khair. When people pride themselves on achievements, we pride ourselves on being the sons of Zayed Al-Khair; and when people talk about history, we talk about the history of charitable giving that started with the inception of the UAE".
He pointed out that the Authority, by preparing the guide for volunteering in the work environment, aims to lay strong foundations for voluntary work in the Federal Government, define appropriate implementation mechanisms and streamline the efforts of all ministries and federal bodies in this field.
Dr Al Awar said: “The introduction of the guide as part of a series of community initiatives launched by the Authority during this year at the level of the Federal Government, and comes in line with the declaration of 2017 as ‘Year of Giving’ by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State.
"The concept of volunteering is not new to the UAE; it remains as a legacy since the era the Founding Fathers. The National Strategy for Year of Giving has been declared to affirm the State's commitment to humanitarian principles and its vision towards supporting charitable and voluntary work in all its forms."
He added: "From this point of view, the role of the ministries and federal entities in institutionalizing this trend and consolidating the culture of volunteering among the Federal Government employees as a business approach and lifestyle, is recognized through setting up voluntary programs and encouraging employees to participate in volunteer projects, promoting innovative humanitarian initiatives and harnessing various systems, resources and potentials to ensure the success of these initiatives."
Dr Abdul-Rahman Al-Awar thanked the Ministry of Community Development for its constructive cooperation with the Authority in preparing the ‘Guide to Volunteering in the Federal Entities’ Work Environment’. He praised the role played by the Ministry in empowering the community, enhancing volunteerism and supporting many creative community initiatives, which constitutes a significant contribution in achieving the UAE Vision 2021 and its national agenda.
Sanaa Suhail: ’’Volunteering and community service represent an integral part of our values and cultural heritage”
For her part, Sanaa Suhail, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Community Development, thanked the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources for its efforts in preparing the highly important guide, stressing that it will greatly help the Federal Government employees to choose their volunteer options and select opportunities that suit their qualifications and abilities. She highlighted the role it can play in encouraging employees to assume their responsibilities towards society and to contribute actively to achieving sustainable development in different sectors.
HE said: "We in the UAE pride ourselves on volunteering and serving the community as an integral part of our values and national heritage. This heritage was laid down by the Founding Fathers and maintained by our wise leadership, which gave voluntary work the utmost attention in the benefit of the present and future generations. The guide is of great importance as a fundamental element in activating collective participation in the advancement of community service.
"The Year of Giving initiative declared by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has consolidated the principles of voluntary work, which represents a qualitative leap forward in this field and establishes a new phase in which volunteering is a daily life for all members of the society".
She pointed out that the "Year of Giving" initiative reflects our noble values and aims to develop the volunteer work by harnessing the potentials of Emirati people in different humanitarian and community projects and initiatives, as well as coordinating voluntary efforts between the public and private sectors through joint programs and initiatives that seek to achieve the desired objectives.
“As part of its efforts to promote social participation and responsibility, the Ministry of Social Development launched a national platform for volunteering to contribute to the creation of an integrated and sustainable system for volunteering for public and private sector institutions. This platform is now a destination for volunteers who want to serve the community, and forms a key tool to disseminate awareness about voluntary initiatives launched by organizations within the UAE, whereby members of the community can learn about the volunteer opportunities available," Suhail noted.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Community Development called on all members of the community to register in the National Volunteering Platform, to continue the march of charitable giving in the " Year of Giving" and maintain the position of the UAE as a global example of humanitarian work.
HE Aisha Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of Human Resources Policies Sector, gave a presentation on the main features of the Guide to Volunteering in the Federal Entities’ Work Environment, its objectives, the concept of voluntary work and its importance, voluntary work in the governmental sector and how to measure and evaluate corporate voluntary programs.
Objectives of the Guide
Al Suwaidi said: “The guide serves a number of key objectives. First and foremost, it helps in defining the concept of volunteerism, its objectives and areas of volunteering, which helps ministries and federal entities to identify volunteer opportunities, as well as components of volunteer programs so as to facilitate setting appropriate plans. It also identifies the volunteers' rights and duties, the ways in which they can engage in corporate volunteering programs, as well as the mechanism for selecting, motivating and retaining volunteers.
She pointed out that, despite different definitions of volunteering, the draft law on volunteerism defines it as "every individual or collective effort aimed at achieving public interest without financial gain,". She noted that there are two types of volunteers: those who engage in voluntary work which is not related directly to their experience and background. On the other hand, some volunteers have specialized knowledge and practical experience in the area through study and work (such as conducting research and studies, and providing administrative advice ,,, etc.) so that entities which provide relevant volunteer opportunities can benefit from their services.
Objectives of Volunteering
Al Suwaidi said: “Volunteering achieves many goals. At the individual level, it contributes to strengthening national belonging, as well as upgrading skills, knowledge and experience. It also helps volunteers to acquire new skills, feel more satisfied and self-confident, and builds strong social relations based on charity and giving.
At the level of organizations, volunteering allows for optimal investment of resources and potentials, increases the level of team spirit and thus employee productivity, contributes to lower absenteeism, improves employee participation and workplace harmony.
The benefits of volunteering at the level of society are obvious. It contributes to social cohesion, and accordingly contributes effectively to social and economic development based through building public service institutions such as hospitals, schools, etc..
The Executive Director of HR Policies Sector in the Authority talked about corporate volunteer programs which contribute to focusing the efforts on achieving the strategic objectives of the Authority, as well as the national strategies of volunteering, pointing out that the success of these volunteer program depends on robust infrastructure including well-defined regulations, laws, policies, and adequate human resources, financial and technological, resources.
The principles of volunteering
Volunteer work is done for free just to serve the community, and to support the stability of the work environment and as an incentive for employee productivity and participation. It covers many areas work, such as health, sports, environment, humanitarian work, relief and cultural issues.
The leadership of the United Arab Emirates is well aware of the importance of volunteering and community work in supporting the Union's march, preserving its achievements and resources, and need for building on them. This is evidenced by the allocation of an award to recognize the Social Employee within the system of rewards and incentives for Federal Government employees, 2015.
Aisha Al Suwaidi explained that as a volunteer you have the following rights and responsibilities:
- Be trusted to carry out agreed voluntary tasks and responsibilities
- Be respected
- Be provided with sufficient training and supervision
- The entity assigning voluntary work must abide by the schedule set for the activity to save volunteers’ time
- Be provided with necessary resources
- Have your personal information dealt with in a confidential manner
- Be provided with a healthy and safe environment
- Attend orientation sessions and / or accessing details pertaining to the voluntary tasks assigned
- Maintain confidentiality of the data and information obtained during volunteer work
- Perform responsibilities assigned in a satisfactory manner and within the timeframe prescribed
- Not to offer, promote or advertise any goods or services during voluntary work resulting in material benefit or personal gain
- Respect the rights of all groups participating in voluntary services
- Preserve the organization’s resources usd to carry out the voluntary work
- Respect all cultures and build balanced relations with colleagues as well as employees and customers of the organization