x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai agency to work with Indian social welfare group

Community Development Authority to provide assistance for ICWC members.


DUBAI // Dubai officials have targeted Indian community organisations in a pilot registration drive that aims to help the groups better understand government policies, negotiate the bureaucracy and ultimately be of greater benefit to the public.

The Community Development Authority (CDA) will work with the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC) to help its members with registration and licensing issues, aiming to forge ties with the groups through training sessions and regular updates on government policy.

Representatives of about 70 groups met senior CDA officials yesterday at the launch of a six-day registration service at the Indian consulate.

Armed with better knowledge of other groups and their own service areas, the CDA hopes that the various organisations will work more effectively, and that the government will have more information to assist them.

The CDA plans to use what it learns in the pilot with Indian aid groups when it approaches other nationalities and expatriate groupings later in the year.

“This will definitely help groups doing humanitarian work,” said C P Mathew, one of the founders of Valley of Love, a charity that raises financial aid for Indian labourers requiring medical care. “Registration and recognition of our work will help. It’s also a good platform for us to give suggestions and know who to approach.”

Interaction would be encouraged between local and expatriate-run organisations after the registration process, said Khaled al Kamda, the CDA director general. “We have to reach out to communities,” Mr al Kamda said. “Cohesion of society is one of the pillars of the CDA.”

The size of the Indian community in the Emirates, some 1.7 million strong, was not the only reason the CDA chose the ICWC to launch its programme, said Mr al Kamda. Building meaningful ties was also a priority.

“We’re not talking only about Emiratis and Indians, we’re talking about creating close communities,” he said. “We chose the Indian community not because of its size, but its ability to work together and implement projects. We want to build communities that live peacefully.”

Booklets with the Dubai Government logo advising groups to “Get Recognised, Get Registered” were distributed among the Indian groups. Registration was a preliminary step before licensing and would help build a database of volunteer groups, said Dr Omar al Muthanna, the chief executive of the CDA’s regulatory and licensing agency.

“When people hear about regulation they worry, but this is so we have guidelines in place and can then help empower different groups,” he said. “We want to enhance the volunteer network and also hold training programmes for those registered.”

Staying connected was part of the plan, said Dr Ahmed al Muhairi, the CDA’s chief of social planning. “We don’t want to stop in one or two years. This will continue for a long time,” he said.

“We are not just here for Emiratis. We are responsible for the whole community to share knowledge, information and expertise.”

Sanjay Verma, the Indian consul general in Dubai, said the links would increase awareness. The ICWC operates under the consulate’s patronage.

“We are proud that we are part of the CDA’s initial forays into different communities,” he said. “This will also help our organisations build ties, not just with Emiratis and the local government, but with groups from other countries who may be working in areas we are not even aware of.”

Two CDA officials will be available at the Indian consulate to assist with clarifications on registration and forms until February 28 from 9am to 4pm.

“I think it’s very important to have this connection,” said Nita Mathur, a management consultant who helps organise financial counselling sessions for labourers. “It’s great to build strong relations with a country you are living and working in. This makes the country a home and not just a transitory place.”



Website to assist volunteers

DUBAI // A website for volunteers detailing programmes they can sign up for is being planned by the emirate’s Social Regulatory and Licensing Department.

The portal aims to match social groups looking for expertise with volunteers on the lookout for programmes, said Khaled al Kamda, the Community Development Authority (CDA) director general.

He did not specify when the portal would be ready.

“We want to be a hub so people can use the portal to volunteer and we can link them with different groups,” he said at a meeting to launch the agency’s registration service with the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC).

“We are working to establish this portal to encourage boys, girls [and] professionals to list their skills, and that groups can also use to list the kind of people they need.”

The idea was inspired by similar initiatives overseas – such as Singapore Cares and NY Cares – that bring together a strong voluntary support base. For example, an organisation’s annual agenda could be added to the portal, Mr al Kamda said.

“We will speak to associations and if they give us their one-year plan we can post that,” he said. “It will help putting people together and help them plan their schedule for projects.”