His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, met with volunteers and stakeholders from volunteering organisations to discuss volunteers’ work and express appreciation for their considerable efforts and contribution to serving the community.

The virtual meeting took place in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of the Board of the Frontline Heroes Office, and member of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation, and His Excellency Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development (DCD).

The meeting coincided with the launch of a new volunteer licencing service, managed by the Department of Community Development, in cooperation with the Emirates Foundation and the Authority of social Contribution – Ma’an.

His Highness praised volunteers’ efforts during the pandemic, which saw volunteers mobilise across the UAE to join frontline workers and play a crucial role in response efforts.

His Highness encouraged volunteers to participate and contribute to advancing the nation’s development and to building an active and responsible community in order to enhance social cohesion and benefit society. HH stressed that highly skilled personnel are working across various fields of volunteering, who are participating effectively and at a professional level at international and local events across the UAE, and in doing so are reflecting the community’s values.

During 2021, more than two million hours were contributed by volunteers in Abu Dhabi, according to DCD’s database, and around 180,000 volunteers participated in volunteer work. With licencing for volunteers now available, DCD has already received more than 9,600 requests to licence volunteers in various fields. Nearly 2,000 citizens and residents volunteers who met the requirements have already been licenced.

Dedicated licencing aims to enhance the volunteering ecosystem by further strengthening volunteers’ capabilities and creating an empowering environment that provides maximum opportunities for social participation and engagement. It will also elevate volunteers’ status and enhance their skills to continue doing impactful, meaningful and valuable work.

The launch of the new volunteer licencing service will also help to integrate volunteering legislation and polices, which will enhance the legal framework around volunteering, and support volunteers and volunteering organisations by helping to ensure that the rights, duties and responsibilities of all parties involved are protected, and that volunteers’ skills are being maximised and enhanced. 

His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan commented: “We praise this crucial step towards regulating volunteering in the emirate. The volunteer licencing service is vital to encourage all community members to participate and contribute to serving the community, in order to further our nation’s development.”

His Excellency reaffirmed that volunteer work helps strengthen people’s character by providing them with values such as altruism, tolerance, generosity of spirit and goodwill, through the dedication of part of their time and effort to helping others. “It is a humanitarian message that is conveyed in this important act.”

His Excellency added: "On this occasion, we at the Frontline Heroes Office appreciate the efforts of the frontline volunteers, who have contributed their specialised skills as part of the response efforts during the pandemic. This act embodies the values of community spirit and social participation."

For his part, His Excellency Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said: “The volunteer licencing service is a continuation of the volunteering policy launched by DCD, which aims to create an enabling and effective environment for volunteering in Abu Dhabi by developing legislation, policies and regulations that ensure the encouragement and protection of volunteers in various social activities. This provides value and appreciation for their efforts and the time they spend serving their community. It helps encourage and motivate them to volunteer, and strengthens the department’s role in the volunteering system and in creating an active and responsible community, reflecting the value the department places on volunteering as a way of spreading a spirit of support and cooperation among all sections of the community.”

Al Khaili added: “Voluntary work is a humanitarian service to the community that everyone seeks to provide, especially in light of the leadership’s directives, which sees volunteerism as a valuable tool in building societies upon humanitarian foundations, both now and in the future. The department is committed to implementing its vision to provide a good quality of life for everyone, by offering high quality and efficient services through the development of programmes that help raise awareness of the importance of volunteering, and its role in driving prosperity, growth, and progress. This is done by spreading a culture of volunteering and by inspiring volunteers in Abu Dhabi, as well as by creating opportunities for participation in voluntary community work, in coordination with the authorities.”

“There are nine areas of volunteering in the emirate of Abu Dhabi: traditional volunteering; volunteering for social affairs; volunteering in emergencies; volunteering in events; virtual volunteering; visitors volunteering; institutional volunteering; specialist volunteering; and overseas volunteering.”

The volunteering licence includes three types of licence: a licence issued to individuals wishing to volunteer; a volunteer team license issued to a group of five or more individuals wishing to practice volunteering without being affiliated with an entity; and a licence issued to organisations in the public or private sector that wish to engage volunteers in their operations or programmes.

DCD invites those wishing to apply for volunteering licences to visit https://volunteers.ae/abudhabi