‘Tis the year for philanthropy.

2017 marks the UAE’s Year of Giving, to commemorate the philanthropic legacy of the UAE’s founding father HH Sheikh Zayed.

And in that spirit, more residents are going to be encouraged to get out among the community and volunteer, according to a recent brainstorming session.

February 1 marked the Year of Giving’s first national ‘retreat’, which took place at the Dubai Arabian Horse Stud and welcomed more than 100 cabinet ministers, government officials and community and humanitarian leaders.

Among the attendees was HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“With the generosity of citizens, the Year of Giving, launched under the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will consolidate our position as a nation and people, especially as we are the most generous nation globally,” the royal said.

Ahead of the retreat, Sheikh Mohammed had called on Twitter users to share their ideas for 2017 using the hashtag #YearofGiving – and he got thousands of responses.

“The eagerness of the responses heartened and assured us that because of our generous people, the future of our country is bright; the people’s ideas will soon be a reality, and everyone will play a role in embedding the value of giving even further in Emirati culture,” he said.

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The future of philanthropy in the UAE was the hot topic of the day.

Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, started the meeting by talking about the charitable acts of the leaders of each emirate, saying, “Our leaders have established charitable associations that are represented by officials from the public and private sector as well as humanitarian leaders and businessmen,” The National reports.

The overall goal of the retreat was to establish a legislative framework for humanitarian and charity work in the UAE.

Al Gergawi suggested that the UAE could boost the number of volunteers in the country.

*Sheikh Mohammed takes some snaps of the Dubai Tour*
*Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed pays Salt Bae a visit*
*Sheikh Mohammed’s super-cute mini-me is now Insta-famous*

As it stands, there are over 200,000 registered volunteers in the UAE. However, the government seeks to increase that number by creating an institution that would monitor the number of hours worked by each volunteer.

“We will introduce an integrated legislative system with a clear framework for Corporate Social Responsibility and Volunteering, both on an institutional and individual level. We will provide volunteers with incentives and a comprehensive framework for volunteering in order to document and reward their initiatives and efforts,” Al Gergawi said.

“Many young people want to volunteer, but are missing incentive programmes and clear guidance in order to be motivated to start volunteering.”

We don’t yet know when such a system will be introduced, but we’ll keep you updated.

As well as boosting the number of volunteers, Al Gergawi touched on the importance of creating a regulatory framework for businessmen in the UAE.

“The richest individuals in the region live in the UAE. While they already contribute to humanitarian work, clearer legislations are needed to outline and regulate their contributions.”

Do you know a Dubai resident making the city a better place?

#DubaiDoesGood: Because the Year of Giving is all about paying it forward.

Do you know someone extra special who deserves to be recognised for their good work? All you have to do is direct message us on Facebook, and tell us a little about them, or chuck us an email at siobhan.downes@motivate.ae. Or if you just want to share the love more generally, throw a story out there on social media with the hashtag #DubaiDoesGood.

We’ll be in touch to find out more!

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Image: Dubai Media Office