The Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination, launched in September of last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, created a powerful social impact. The strategy is being implemented by the Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi.
During the first year, many quality initiatives were undertaken, which played major roles in achieving Abu Dhabi’s vision of creating an inclusive society by empowering people of determination. The strategy includes 30 initiatives that are to be implemented in cooperation with local and federal government agencies, the private and third sectors, as well as people of determination.
The integration of efforts proved to be effective in achieving the strategic goals of building an inclusive community culture; enabling the people of determination to exercise equal rights to avail of all services and opportunities; ensuring the provision of integrated and high-quality services offered by the public and private sectors; and developing a sustainable, data- and evidence-based social development framework for people of determination and their families.
More than 90 local, federal, private and third sector entities participated in activating the strategy, whereby over 70 interactive sessions and workshops were organized. They attracted more than 220 local and international experts, while over 14,000 individuals participated in specialized trainings comprising more than 230 field trips, in addition to working on 9 guides and standards for inclusive practices. Additionally, 17 parks were built for the people of determination , with 14 entities being listed on the unified database, 12 sports establishments evaluated, and 12 KPIs identified and monitored to measure the strategy’s impact.
H.E. Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of DCD, expressed his delight with the accomplishments of the strategy during its first year. “These accomplishments reflect the keenness of all parties to cooperate to achieve the common objective of empowering the people of determination and integrating them into society. By providing high-quality integrated services across the public, private and third sectors, the strategy will enable these people to become productive members of society and dynamic contributors to Abu Dhabi’s sustainable-development efforts."
H.E. Dr. Al Khaili expressed appreciation for the commitment of DCD’s partners in implementing the strategy until 2024, in line with the vision of the leadership to raise the quality of life of the people of determination so as to make Abu Dhabi a global model for positive change.
H.E. Dr. Al Khaili explained that the past year’s achievements reflected the effectiveness of the integrated efforts of the DCD and its partners In meeting the desires and needs of people of determination and bringing about a societal shift that ensures a dignified life and equal opportunities for all.”
Led by DCD, the taskforce of the enablers pillar has completed the first phase of establishing an integrated care system for PODs and their families in partnership with the Mohammed bin Zayed Initiative for People of Determination by designing an integrated service file in the areas of health, curative and rehabilitative services, as well as inclusive educational and social services. The system also includes designing an integrated model for providing services and a governance framework for that model, while developing sustainable financial solutions for obtaining services at affordable rates.
In line with DCD’s responsibility to ensure an effective governance of the strategy, an initiative has been taken to implement the integrated governance and evaluation system for POD programs by activating the strategy’s implementation system as well as by engaging 43 local and federal government agencies, the private sector and the third sector. The change management plan has also been activated to ensure effective communication with relevant entities and their participation, while identifying and monitoring 12 KPIs to measure the strategy’s impact.
The employment pillar, led by the Abu Dhabi Human Resources Authority, was able to complete the government policy-development initiative for inclusive employment of people of determination. This was done through an assessment of the current situation and by identifying the challenges, options and solutions with stakeholders.
As for the inclusive employment program, 100% of the first phase has been completed through the implementation of the “colleagues of determination” program, in cooperation with the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination. This is an awareness program for Abu Dhabi government employees on the art of dealing with employees of determination in workplaces. Nine workshops were conducted with the participation of 1,540 employees.
It was revealed that 98.6% of the attendees gained understanding about the disability categories, 87.8% became familiar with the characteristics and needs of people of determination according to the disability category, 85% gained knowledge about how to deal with different types of people of determination, and 81.49% became aware of the methods of providing support and assistance for people of determination.
The education pillar, led by the Department of Education and Knowledge, is working to implement the educational inclusion model initiative in accordance with international best practices. Work on the policy of inclusive education in Abu Dhabi included the completion of an analytical report on the current situation, and visit to 205 schools.
Work is underway to prepare an integration charter, which will define unified standards and guidelines for developing inclusive education practices and policies for educational institutions, in addition to developing a comprehensive digital library for parents, as well as implementing the first phase of a training program for educational institutions in which about 13,000 specialists in private schools were trained in various fields, such as the needs of children of determination in the nursery and kindergarten stages, understanding autism, evaluating dyslexia and the basics of inclusive education, preparing the individual educational plan and setting goals, and providing an inclusive educational environment.
Health and rehabilitation
The health and rehabilitation pillar, led by the Department of Health, worked to implement the initiative’s preparatory activities to develop a unified, comprehensive and integrated assessment framework for people of determination in preparation for its actual start in 2022. The objectives of the initiative were aligned with three existing strategies of the Department of Health –the primary healthcare model, the mental health strategy and maternity care strategy – to ensure that the needs of PODs and their families are included in the various healthcare services and programs.
Work has begun on the first phase of an integrated system for early intervention, an initiative owned by the Early Childhood Authority in this pillar. It aims to establish an integrated system for early detection of different types of disabilities, including developmental surveys and the provision of diagnostic and early intervention mechanisms and programs based on international best practices. They include providing community early intervention services, building specialized local capacities in the field, raising community awareness, especially among parents and caregivers, and building their capacities.
The social care pillar, led by the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, continued its achievements by implementing six planned initiatives to align the local classification of disabilities with the unified national classification of disabilities..
The third edition of the Guide to Classification of Disabilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2021 was completed, and an action plan is being worked out to activate the guide to classify disability that is approved by 12 government entities with high impact, according to Circular No. (1) of 2021 regarding the Guide to Classification of Disabilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi issued by the Executive Council. In addition, the People of Determination database initiative was activated and linked with 14 entities to feed the database with a focus on auditing and increasing the quality and accuracy of data in the unified register.
The universal access pillar, led by the Department of Municipalities and Transport, worked to activate initiatives that would ensure the possibility and ease of access for people of determination to the physical environment, transport, services and information. These initiatives are implemented in partnership with other entities such as the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Airports and Abu Dhabi Ports.
One of these initiatives is the universal access to buildings, facilities, transport and housing for people of determination, where 17 inclusive parks for people of determination with 91% of separate areas were opened in Al Ain. Others included adding standards for accompanying service animals for people of determination in public areas, updating technical provisions for private housing standards, which include easy access and mobility, and preparing technical provisions for protection from fire hazards in line with the needs of people of determination.
A training workshop was also held for participants under the pillar titled Inclusive Design: General Concepts and Practical Applications..
As for universal access to cultural and entertainment programs led by the Department of Culture and Tourism, criteria for access and participation in events have been developed.
In terms of the universal access to inclusive sporting events led by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the first phase of an initial assessment of sport facilities (12) was conducted in cooperation with Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination.
As for the inclusive air travel initiative owned by Abu Dhabi Airports, an assessment of the current situation has begun, in addition to implementing quick solutions such as sensory units for autistic children, giving priority to people of determination on the travel journey, allocating a service interface to clear travel procedures for travelers of determination, and allocating smart gates at departure and arrival.