The number of Public Non-Benefit Associations, NGO’s and Social Takaful Funds managed and supervised by the Ministry of Community Development reached 223, of which: (185) associations, (17) takaful funds and (21) NGO’s registered in the database of the Ministry till the end of 2018. The associations divided into groups are characterized as follows: (63) majority public and cultural services associations, (34) professional associations, (29) folk arts associations, (23) humanitarian services, (15) community clubs, (10) theatres and (8) women’s associations.
In terms of geographical distribution, the emirate of Abu Dhabi leads the number of registered associations (70), followed by Dubai (48), Sharjah (28), Ras Al Khaimah (15), Fujairah (12), Ajman (7) and Um Al Qiwain (5).
Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Development, stated that the civil society organizations in the UAE play a prominent and tangible role in the advancement and development of the 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 programs that are beneficial for all the community members with the participation of all groups and spectrums.
Tahlak noted that the women associations aim for raising the economic, social and cultural family standards and contribute to the progress of women’s reality in all social, economic, cultural and educational aspects, in addition to providing maternity and childhood services, caring services for needy families and special categories as well as organizing charitable exhibitions and markets. 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 specialized local, and international bodies, preparing and issuing researches 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 for achieving the 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 assistances 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.
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 characterized 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 emphasized 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 NGO’s. It also boosts the registration and declaration of public benefit non-profit associations takaful funds to prove their legal personality and financial status. The department also defines the priorities of the community from these associations, puts programs and media plans to increase the awareness of these associations according to the federal law No. (2) of 2008 concerning public benefit non-profit associations and NGO’s.
Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Development emphasized that the department performs various tasks and responsibilities to enhance the duties of these Associations and Institutes, gives technical guidance and advice to raise their service and performance standards according to the organization structure of the Ministry which states the declaration of Public Non-Benefit Associations, NGO’s, and Takaful Funds, supervision of regular and non-regular general assembly meetings, studying complaints and grievances presented by these Associations, provision of financial support to the Associations and revision of public fund raising requests, examining membership, accession or participation requests by the Associations when dealing with other organizations and authorities outside the UAE, audit and check their final accounts and expenditure resources, studying requests to amend their statutes, issuing certificates to banks and official authorities.