The Department of Community Development (DCD) has marked the third anniversary of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024, launched in 2020 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
DCD has highlighted numerous achievements over three years, showcasing the strategy's qualitative social impact across various sectors, with the overarching goal of creating an inclusive and empowering community for People of Determination.
DCD has also highlighted the achievements within the pillars of the strategy, which include Enablers, Employment, Education, Health and Rehabilitation, Social Care, and Universal Access.
His Excellency Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said: "Since its launch in 2020 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the strategy has strengthened Abu Dhabi's leading position in empowering People of Determination, as they are a fundamental pillar of society. The emirate is keen to provide a nurturing and inclusive environment, ensuring equitable access for People of Determination, while continuing to implement the strategy to unlock the full potential of this community, enabling them to become not only productive members but also active contributors to the community development process.
“We look forward to securing even more achievements that serve People of Determination and their families, ensuring optimal implementation of the strategy until next year 2024, with the active participation of all parties in order to provide services effectively.”
Her Excellency Dr Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD, commended the dedication of the teams executing strategic initiatives that reflect the extent of communication and integration they have shown in order to reach the primary goal, which is to empower People of Determination and facilitate their seamless integration into society.
Her Excellency Dr Al Hyas emphasised that with ongoing collective efforts of everyone involved, and the clarity of plans and tangible outcomes, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of People of Determination and their families.
Her Excellency Dr Al Hyas confirmed that the strategy and its slogan, We and You Are One, have been proactively adopted by various stakeholders and concerned partners in their journey to activating initiatives.
Over the past three years, the strategy has translated into numerous achievements, with initiatives being turned into tangible realities, and comprehensive plans being formulated to empower people of determination and seamlessly integrate them into society.
Within the framework of the Enablers Pillar led by DCD, a draft policy aimed at protecting People of Determination from violence, neglect, exploitation and discrimination has been completed. Additionally, a guide for protecting People of Determination in Abu Dhabi has been completed, which will be launched with the policy. DCD conducted three consultation workshops and coordination meetings involving approximately 70 representatives from 40 entities spanning governmental, private and third sectors. The sessions analysed the challenges of People of Determination in accessing protection and worked to develop the necessary and impactful solutions. Five discussion sessions were also held with People of Determination and their families and were attended by approximately 80 participants. Additionally, 13 initiatives were identified to address gaps in the field of protection for People of Determination .
Reinforcing their commitment to this cause, the DCD also designed an operational model and pilot stages to implement three services that support independent living for People of Determination. These services encompass a home personal care service, a daycare service for People of Determination, and a supported residential living service.
DCD has also completed the design of an inclusion excellence award scheme to incentivise the public, private and third sectors to enhance inclusive practices and implement innovative initiatives and solutions that support the inclusion and empowerment of People of Determination.
Within the Employment Pillar, led by the Department of Government Enablement – Abu Dhabi, the achievements over the past three years include the completion of the preparation for the inclusive employment policy for People of Determination in Abu Dhabi, and the development of 15 initiatives within the policy to contribute to achieving inclusive employment for People of Determination within the labour market. The second phase of the inclusive employment programme was also completed, which is an awareness programme for Abu Dhabi Government employees that supports their fellow People of Determination titled Colleagues of Determination.
The training programme on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health was also implemented for the technical team across the various axes of the strategy. The employment registry for People of Determination in the Abu Dhabi Government was also created, which includes detailed demographic information, employment status, qualifications, academic specialisations, and career development plans for 208 job seekers, 115 trainees in craft workshops and 193 employees in government agencies in the emirate.
The Education Pillar, led by the Department of Education and Knowledge, included specific initiatives to improve access to inclusive education for People of Determination within the framework of comprehensive education. The inclusion policy was launched to Abu Dhabi schools and four training courses were held to raise awareness for people with autism in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority. Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education provided courses for parents of children on the waiting list of the Department of Education and Knowledge, with 123 parents attending the courses.
Within the framework of the Health and Rehabilitation Pillar led by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi developed a unified, comprehensive and integrated assessment framework for People of Determination and completed the linking of the ICD-10 with the disability classification guide. They completed the health level assessment for the emirate at a policy level, advocating for the inclusion of People of Determination in numerous committees and professional positions within the health sector and healthcare facilities. This encompasses assessing the accessibility of facilities and the dissemination of information regarding their services. This was done in order to provide the necessary improvements and create an inclusive environment for People of Determination.
The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority completed the integrated system for early intervention. In October 2022, the Abu Dhabi Early Intervention Guide was published for parents of children of determination up to 8 years old. Parents reported that after using the guide, their awareness of treatments and treatment methods increased by 21 per cent, and their confidence in managing treatments, treatment methods and related services increased by 20 per cent.
The guide was also printed and 10,000 copies in English and Arabic were distributed throughout Abu Dhabi. In addition, in December 2022, capacity building work was undertaken for 83 pediatricians, including 12 Emirati doctors.
As for the pilot programme of the National Immunisation Schedule, more than 1,101 parents were registered. They reported a 10 per cent increase in awareness of typical signs of symptoms, with an 8 per cent increase in confidence while participating in activities that promote child development. During the second quarter of this year, approval was obtained to implement the pilot phase for monitoring and examining child development in three clinics and hospitals in Al Dhafra Region, through development monitoring and comprehensive standard examination of children for more than 3,000 children up to the age of three years old in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra, in partnership with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Mubadala Health.
In the social care pillar, led by the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, many achievements were attained over the past three years. This includes the Family and Caregiver Support System Initiative, which was done through the completion of a study of the current situation and standard comparisons by conducting 50 interviews with stakeholders and organising seven discussion groups. A total of 200 respondents engaged with the survey, and the targeted operational model was designed to support families and caregivers. This involved the participation of 10 parties involved in organising discussion workshops and 11 targeted operational programmes. The development and implementation of support programmes for parents, siblings, and caregivers were finalised, with 120 participants enrolling in the targeted training programmes. As for caregivers, 500 stakeholders registered and actively took part in training programmes tailored for those supporting People of Determination.
The hub also obtained achievements by launching and implementing the pilot training programme for workers, which targeted approximately 10 participants, in addition to the community awareness initiative based on the legal perspective of disability. The first video of the community awareness campaign, which covers the topic of livelihood, was launched and circulated through various channels. A training programme on capacity building was also implemented, targeting associations and centres for People of Determination in order to enable them to improve the quality of the programmes provided to them and their families.
The Universal Access Pillar witnessed many achievements, led by the Department of Municipalities and Transport, in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, Department of Government Empowerment – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Airports and Abu Dhabi Ports Group.
The Department of Municipalities and Transport completed the development of 13 inclusive parks in Abu Dhabi as part of initiatives to raise the efficiency of regions in the emirate. The parks are part of 119 planned to be completed before the first quarter of 2024.
There was also cooperation between the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority and the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination to provide inclusive equipment that supports People of Determination in three swimming pools in addition to two beaches, located at the Corniche and in Al Bateen.
It also approved the accessibility enhancement of five beaches in Abu Dhabi to enhance accessibility for People of Determination. This involves the installation of pathways linking the beach and the sea, along with the incorporation of other supporting equipment. This collaborative effort will be undertaken in partnership with the Integrated Transport Centre and the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an.
Abu Dhabi Housing Authority held a focus group session with People of Determination and their families to ensure that their needs are identified and their opinions about housing services are taken into account. Approximately 52 citizens benefited from a ready-made housing grant, and the number of beneficiaries of a residential land grant reached approximately 388 citizens. The total number of exemption requests for People of Determination reached 1,298 cases, with the category of retirees forming the highest category of exemption requests, reaching 845.
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the platform and application programme (www.visitabudhabi.ae) were evaluated to include tools that serve People of Determination. Additionally, a comprehensive training chapter was added for all frontline employees in the tourism and hospitality sector which includes how to support People of Determination.
For stakeholders, office programmes and events for People of Determiantion have been activated, policies related to tourism activities have been developed, and a model for the level of improvement of tourism and cultural facilities in Abu Dhabi has been developed.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company, efforts to ensure inclusive air travel flight through modifications of the roads and internal lanes in the new airport building were delivered, equipping sensory rooms, and implementing special alarm devices for People of Determination in the toilets of the Terminal A. The training and recruiting skilled professionals adept in sign language to effectively communicate with People of Determination, were undertaken. A mandatory introductory material for new airport employees on how to support People of Determination was also introduced, and special courses focusing on People of Determination were approved for frontline employees and strategic partners.
In order to provide comprehensive access to inclusive sports programmes, Abu Dhabi Sports Council implemented a workshop on Modified Physical Activities for People of Determination, in cooperation with the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, in the presence of 60 participants.
Twenty five members from the Abu Dhabi Club for People of Determination took part in World Running Day, and a significant participation of 110 People of Determination occurred in the Abu Dhabi Government Games Championship. The number of participants in local events during the last period of this year reached approximately 149 People of Determination, while the number of participants in the community schools management project reached 1,130 People of Determination.