Abu Dhabi: There are 223 associations, NGOs and takaful funds managed and supervised by the Ministry of Community Development.

The tally includes 185 associations, 17 takaful funds and 21 NGOs registered in the ministry’s database till the end of 2018.

The associations divided into groups cover 63 majority public and cultural services associations, 34 professional associations, 29 folk arts associations, 23 humanitarian services, 15 community clubs, 10 theatres and eight women’s associations.

In terms of geographical distribution, Abu Dhabi leads the number of registered associations at 70, followed by Dubai (48), Sharjah (28), Ras Al Khaimah (15), Fujairah (12), Ajman (7) and Umm Al Quwain (5).

Hessa Tahlak, assistant undersecretary of social development, stated that the civil society organisations in the UAE play a prominent and tangible role in the advancement and development of society based on the importance of their role in raising the personality of individuals who represent the basic element of building the community.

They also raise awareness, spread public knowledge and culture, stimulate individual efforts to further achieve more social and economic development and participation in public policies. The success of a nation is measured by the capacity of civil society to set up and implement developmental social programmes that are beneficial for all the community members with the participation of all groups and spectrums.

Tahlak noted that the women’s associations aim to raise economic, social and cultural family standards and contribute to the progress of women’s reality in all aspects, in addition to providing maternity and childhood services, care for needy families and special categories as well as organising charitable exhibitions and markets.

Professional bodies

As for the role of professional associations, they are defined in taking care of all the benefits of their members, raising their professional levels, exchanging experiences and skills with specialised local and international bodies, preparing and issuing research and studies related to social, economic and health phenomena, deepening the knowledge and professional development of each members especially in their areas of expertise and consolidating relations between these associations and relevant bodies regionally and internationally.

The public service and cultural associations seek to achieve cultural standards and local heritage, dissemination and publishing books and magazines, holding seminars, monitoring scientific awards and inviting cultural and scientific specialists. While the humanitarian associations aim to provide financial and in-kind assistance to needy families and individuals, contribute to the care of public services, maintenance and furnishing of mosques, in addition to other humanitarian services for children, orphans, people of determination, accidents and disasters victims, patients, younger generations and students.

The folk arts and theatre associations look for disseminating local folkloric art inside and outside the UAE through international participation, improving the cultural, heritage and theatrical talents of the younger generations, publish theatre culture and raise the awareness of theatre literature and arts.

Community clubs strengthen ties

Finally, community clubs strengthen ties between the members of the same community and their homeland, enhance relations between different nationalities and cultures and achieve greater cooperation and cultural exchange in a society characterised by tolerance, coexistence and harmony as well as providing services and assistance to the community in celebration of national events and ceremonies.

The assistant undersecretary of social development emphasised that the role of public benefit non-profit associations department at the ministry support, enhance and encourage societal partnership, boost volunteering work, takaful funds and NGOs. The department also defines the priorities of the community from these associations, puts programmes and media plans to increase the awareness of these associations according to Federal Law No. (2) of 2008 concerning public benefit non-profit associations and NGOs.