Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has greeted the people of the UAE on the occasion of Ramadan, calling on everyone to embrace the generous spirit of the month by continuing to support those in need. “We encourage all government and private-sector entities to launch new initiatives to establish the value of giving in the UAE during Ramadan; we invite everyone to launch creative and humanitarian initiatives,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

He continued, “Ramadan is an opportunity for us to consolidate the goals behind the Year of Giving, and to instil humanitarian values deep in the DNA of our people and culture.”

The Year of Giving 2017 was launched by His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in January, and seeks to spread the values of giving across society.

Shaikh Mohammad has developed a comprehensive and integrated approach to translate the vision behind the Year of Giving into a sustainable framework in order to institutionalise humanitarianism in the UAE and consolidate the culture of giving in various sectors across the country.

“Spreading the spirit of giving is part of celebrating Ramadan; we hope to see new philanthropic initiatives and actions by every person in the UAE throughout the holy month this year”, the Vice-President added.

He called on all local and federal agencies to initiate new programmes and activities to disseminate the spirit of generosity in Ramadan, saying, “We expect our institutions in the public and private sectors to play a role in promoting a culture of giving in the UAE, and involving various sectors in the community.”

Shaikh Mohammad also called on the local media to intensity efforts to highlight charitable initiatives during Ramadan, inviting people to support, promote and participate in such efforts.

Under the UAE National Strategy for the Year of Giving, over 1,400 initiatives across all seven emirates were introduced, engaging both private and public sector entities, and targeting various segments of society in the UAE.

The Year of Giving includes three main pillars, which are Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Volunteerism and Serving the Nation. The strategy also aims to register over 200,000 volunteers and attract at least 20,000 young citizens to join the effort.

Under the CSR pillar, an annual ‘Corporate Social Responsibility National Index’ will be adopted in order to track companies in the UAE based on the percentage of their contributions to CSR initiatives.

Also, a ‘Smart Platform for CSR’ will be launched through an app that includes all data related to CSR, as well as a set of guidelines, success stories, and the latest news.

Under volunteerism, several initiatives are already under way, including the establishment of the ‘National Volunteer Platform’, a database that collates information for volunteers, including volunteer opportunities based on volunteer interests. An incentive programme will also be introduced, the first of its kind in the UAE, through which professionals, including doctors, engineers, consultants and accountants, will be encouraged to donate their time in their area of expertise.

Under the Serving the Nation pillar, the initiatives introduced primarily target youth, with support from the education sector. Titled ‘One Hundred Ways to Serve Your Country’, one initiative aims to raise awareness of institutions and development projects among youth and guide them on how they can contribute to such efforts.

Another newly introduced initiative called ‘Role Model’ seeks to highlights success stories, among others, of doctors, architects or teachers who have adopted innovative ideas to serve the country.