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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

More than 70 centres to support Emirati families to open across UAE

The Ministry of Community Development announced the National Family Policy last week

Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, announces the National Family Policy on Sunday. Satish Kumar for The National
Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, announces the National Family Policy on Sunday. Satish Kumar for The National

Campaigns to promote marriage will be rolled out with the aim of building strong unions among Emiratis.

Marriage, family relationships and childcare are some of the areas the UAE plans to focus on to ensure tight-knit families and societies in the future.

The Ministry of Community Development announced them as part of six pillars, including role equality, family protection and work, which comprise the new National Family Policy.

More than 72 family centres will be set up, including 27 social affairs offices, 10 federal centres for social development, 23 centres for social development across emirates, seven family consultation centres across emirates and five private family consultation centres.

“It is the norm to do your homework for any national policy to come out and part of that was to run research and face people so that you can get a sense of what is happening on the ground,” said Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, in Dubai on Sunday.

“We found out that that there are 10 main areas of importance to any family.”

One of the areas, for instance, related mainly to financial stability. “It was a major thing where, for a small family to start, we need to ensure that family members are aware of their new financial roles,” she said. “They need to know that they can actually reach out to us if they need any help.

"They must know how to plan their financial family matters properly at every stage of their family life.”

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Another area was the services the government provides to families and ensuring they are up to date, easily accessible and bundled in a way that is more meaningful to families.

“We came to understand that there are six main focus areas we need to understand in depth to know what the current challenges we’re facing are, whether marriage, starting a family and increasing the participation of all family members in creating this family.”

Family protection will ensure all members, from children to women, the elderly and the disabled are stable and safe. “Many wonder why the UAE would require a national family policy and there is no doubt the UAE is a modern country,” Ms Buhumaid said.

“Since the union of the UAE, family cohesiveness has been the core of the country’s foundation. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid once said that the UAE family is at the core of our success and hence our keenness to focus on families is a must.”

The policy falls under the UAE’s centennial strategy 2071 to making the country the happiest and most cohesive society. Family is seen as a large part of that.

“Society and families are intertwined so they affect each other which ultimately reflects on the country itself,” she added.

“The policy will also aim to change the understanding of social and financial responsibilities required to establish a family. The ministry plays a great role in clarifying all these roles and the requirements for a healthy and sustainable family.”

The ministry aims to tighten the relationship of families within each other and with others in society, leading to more cohesiveness. “A majlis has been established with the UAE Cabinet to unify efforts in assisting members of society to establish a close-knit family and a stronger family bond,” said Sana Suhail, the ministry's undersecretary.

“The policy will look after families’ key concerns for them to be stronger.”

Each pillar will have consulting and community centres as well as training, to provide a positive discourse among families.

“There will be campaigns to raise awareness about marriage and steps to a happy marriage,” said Moza Al Ameri, the ministry's director of marriage grants.

“Our efforts within the policy will be invested towards the youth because they are the families of the future.

"It will be about teaching them how to lead a happy marriage and how to share a life with their spouse, from choosing the appropriate partner and working together towards establishing a family life without allowing life pressures or in-laws get between them.”