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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Year of Giving: millions of volunteer hours and a billion dirhams

Minister said campaign has "institutionalised charitable work"

The Year of Giving saw more than 275,000 volunteers take part in charitable activities and spend 2.8 million hours contributing to good causes, according to an end of year report by the government.

And more than Dh1.5 billion was given to good causes by the private sector alone.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving, said the campaign had been successful in "institutionalising charitable work" among companies and the community.

“During the Year of Giving, we dedicated ourselves to spreading the spirit of giving in various fields, as one team, under the guidance of our wise leadership," he said.

"We sought to achieve our goals, as established by the Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving, and to dedicate our work to the memory of the UAE’s martyrs and heroes. As the year ends, we will continue spreading the spirit of giving long after because it is an important part of our identity and culture.”

Al Gergawi said that the campaign set the foundation, for the first time, for institutionalising charitable work in the UAE.

He also said that five laws were adopted with the goal of establishing a sustainable and legislative framework for charities and volunteering. These were the Federal Law on Volunteer Work, the Federal Law on Waqf, along with legislation governing corporate social responsibility, establishing a Coordinating Council for Humanitarian Institutions, and community service responsibilities.

He highlighted the importance of the National Strategy for Volunteering 2021 in developing a framework for volunteering in the UAE, involving all sections of society in important work that benefits the community.

Among the many worthy initiatives to take place this year was the Reaching the Last Mile forum in November, which was dedicated to eradicating diseases like malaria and polio.

At the event in Abu Dhabi, a $100 million fund was announced with the ambitious goal of wiping out many of the world's deadliest diseases.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, contributed $20 million, which was matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and with the addition of $30 million from the British Government.