Monday, April 20, 2015

"Strategic Philanthropy" is key to address
roots of social problems.

ABU DHABI -- A UAE paper has said that charity, no doubt, begins at home. However, when the term extends to encompass the entire global community in the form of strategic philanthropy, the results sparkle. 

The UAE has accurately recognised this aspect and hence it is that the young nation now stands tall as the most generous in the world,  said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Monday. 

The country has ranked worlds No.1 in foreign aid for the second consecutive year in 2014. The official development aid provided by the country hit AED18 billion, which formed 1.17 percent of gross national income

While several individuals and organisations play a major role in pushing the noble mission forward and deserve praise in equal measure, some stand out for their distinctive role of nurturing Emirati volunteers to deal with global needs.

The YouAE Connect is one such commendable programme launched by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation to support emerging Emirati leaders in different fields. 

The Foundation uses the strategic or outcomes-driven approach to philanthropy which is the method taken by the worlds leading innovators in philanthropy, pioneered a century ago by John D. Rockefeller and still in development by those such as the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation

The foundation recently gave a group of young Emirati women an opportunity to gain insight into the complex challenges in the field of international development by visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand and volunteering at various philanthropic foundations, NGOs, and social enterprises. 

The trip helped the participants feel the pulse of the deprived on foreign land. One volunteer confessed how the trip challenged her pre-conceived notions on international development and made her realise the role not only as representative of her own country, but also of the global world at large.

It dawned on the volunteer that while charity solves temporary issues, strategic philanthropy focused on solving the root causes of social problems. Charity creates a system of dependency, but strategic philanthropy allows the beneficiaries to create their own sources of income, the YouAE Connect volunteer inferred. 

The experience proved to be so valuable that the volunteer, in her own words, developed an absolutely new perspective on aid, the paper added.

The path of benevolence in the UAE has effectively been laid down by the founding father of the nation, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. To this day, his generous legacy has been kept alive, crossing all borders and barriers to touch the hearts of people in almost every country.

If the words kindness and Emirati are considered as synonyms, now one well knows the reason. The YouAE Connect effort is yet another step which consolidates that belief concluded the Sharjah-based daily

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