In accordance with the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, and her interest to achieve familial and psychological stability for Emirati citizens in order to ensure their proper upbringing, the General Women's Union took upon itself to organize visitations between children and their parents in families suffering from disputes that ended up in divorce. On April 3, 2001, the General Women's Union established the Child Visitation Office that aims to provide a suitable environment for children to meet with their parents and spare them the negative impact of visitations in police stations or elsewhere. The office works to achieve a set of goals, including establishing a positive communication with the parents of children in custody in order to reach a kind of reconciliation between them, ensuring emotional warmth for these children, guiding parents to ensure psychological stability for their children and educating families on the risks and negative effects of disintegration on children.
On June 19, 2013, the General Women's Union launched “Be Prepared” initiative in collaboration with the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority aiming to empower women and develop their skills in emergency, crisis and disaster management. The initiative implemented across the UAE includes five training programs: emergency, crisis and disaster management, integrated emergency, crisis and disaster management, risk management during emergencies and crises, first aid, firefighting, evacuation and occupational health and safety. In general, the initiative aims to raise awareness and knowledge on the principles of emergency, crisis and disaster management among Emirati women and develop their expertise in this area, in addition to providing trainees with the basic skills necessary to assess the risks and threats of potential emergencies and disasters in the UAE along with theoretical information and practical skills to deal with fires and use fire extinguishing equipment, as well as to strengthening women’s capacities in the application of laws and regulations in accordance with the principles of health and safety.
The initiative of “A Female First Responder in Our House” was launched at the beginning of 2013 organized by the Women's Support Office in cooperation with the Department of Emergency and Public Safety at the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police. The program includes a theoretical and practical explanation of the basic principles of first aid and the ways to provide help to people suffering from burns, wounds, bleeding and bruises, in addition to choking adults and children. It also includes a full explanation of how to request an ambulance by dialing 999, identifying the caller’s name, determining the type, location and address of incident, number of casualties and the actions carried out by the responder, and then acting according to the instructions provided by the operations while keeping calm when giving information. The team consists of an emergency female doctor, a qualified medical technician and an assistant from the Department of Emergency and Public Safety at the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police - Ministry of Interior, in addition to the administrative team from the Women's Support Office, which oversees, coordinates and follows up the progress of work. Since the initiative launch, eight training courses have been held in multiple houses in different parts of Abu Dhabi with 30 to 40 participants in each from different categories of female employees and housewives who welcomed the initiative and expressed how they have benefited from such courses.
The General Women's Union has noticed the global rapid changes in the field of information technology and observed the upcoming domination of digital revolution in the daily life of Emirati woman and families. From this standpoint, the General Women's Union launched the Women in Technology (WIT) project in November 2006 to empower women in the field of information technology. WIT has been working on developing women's capacities and training them to deal with the information revolution at all personal, familial and professional levels. The program has provided five key activities to participants and partner organizations: professional development training, business planning for sustainability, information technology training using Microsoft Unlimited Potential curriculum, women's professional development networking opportunities, professional exchange and capacity building.
In November 2011, the General Women's Union launched a program to combat obesity among schoolchildren in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. The program aims to raise awareness on obesity, educate students to develop healthy lifestyles and encourage them to increase their physical activity and adopt healthy diets. It included weekly health education lectures delivered by nutritionists along with workshops on healthy diets held for parents and teaching and administrative staffs. The program's implementation mechanism also included 4 workshops delivered by psychologists to train teaching and administrative staffs to identify students suffering from psychological problems, in addition to taking measurements of height, weight, body mass and fat percentage and distributing a questionnaire on food culture and physical activity to students along with another one for parents and staff.
The National Campaign for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer was launched on November 2, 2011 in cooperation with the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Health Authority, “Tamm” Group for Social Volunteering and the Emirates Medical Association. The campaign included several awareness lectures, guidance and advice on the need to vaccinate girls before coming to the age of marriage starting from the age of 15 and up to 26 years, and the need for Pap tests for women after marriage once every 3 years starting at the age of 25 years. The campaign targeted a large number of women across the emirates and received considerable attention from women who interacted with the campaign and showed interest in their health.
Under the slogan "Together for a Pulsing Heart", the General Women's Union launched the National Program for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases in Women, "Weqaya", on the initiative of Zayed Giving and under the supervision of the Emirates World Humanitarian Mobile Hospital and the Emirates World Heart Group in order to increase women's awareness of the most important causes of cardiovascular diseases and their top preventions. The General Women's Union organized several awareness gatherings across the emirates, supervised free examinations for the largest number of women in terms of measuring body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and echocardiography and provided individual consultation sessions with specialists from the Emirates World Humanitarian Mobile Hospital across the emirates to then transfer cases to state hospitals for the necessary treatment. The campaign aimed at providing free diagnostic, therapeutic and awareness programs for women, increasing women's awareness of the most important causes of cardiovascular diseases and encouraging them to periodically check for diseases and treat them in order to avoid any complications.
In November 2009 and in implementation of the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in the United Arab Emirates, the General Women's Union launched the “Know Your Rights” projects to educate women on local and federal laws and regulations, familiarize them with the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United Arab Emirates, and strengthen their ability to defend their rights. The program included a series of workshops aimed at introducing international legislation and state treaties on women's rights as well as the UAE laws of personal status, civil service and labor. In the interest of the General Women's Union in spreading the benefits to the largest possible segments, the implementation of the third stage of the project adopted a method that ensures communication with women wherever they are, by holding workshops in the institutions operating across the emirates.
On 8 March 2006, the General Women's Union, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), launched the UAE National Gender Mainstreaming Initiative. The project included an integrated plan of action aimed at strengthening the partnership between the General Women's Union and governmental and non-governmental institutions for the integration of women's issues in the development process by noting the need to take the needs of both women and men into account when developing institutional strategic plans, so as to ensure equal opportunities between men and women without gender discrimination and ensure their equal participation in the development process in a way that does not conflict with the cultural and social specificity of the UAE society.
The General Women's Union has made clear efforts in the field of empowerment and preparation of Emirati women for political participation through the organization of specialized conferences and seminars, enabling Emirati women to learn about the experiences of the Arab countries, especially during the election period. Since 2004, The project of strengthening the role of women parliamentarians has been one of the most important initiatives of the General Women's Union in this area. It has contributed to spreading awareness on the importance of women's political participation, in addition to training a group of leading women figures and enhancing their leadership skills as a step towards preparing them to enter the political arena. It should be noted here that the Election Commission for the country’s first electoral experience included the names of some women from the project, of which one was appointed at the Federal National Council.
Women's economic empowerment and access to economic resources are among the priorities of the General Women's Union. The National Productive Families Project was designed to translate its efforts towards creating suitable work-from-home jobs for women. The exhibitions of productive families have contributed to encouraging women to produce and generate income in order to improve the economic situation of their households, especially those with low incomes. It should be noted that following the initiative of the General Women's Union to organize the productive families exhibition, several (federal and local) governmental institutions and civil society organizations have adopted the idea of supporting this segment of women either by issuing commercial licenses enabling women to do business from home or through their assistance in marketing their products by allocating spaces for them within the various exhibitions organized by the various state institutions.
This program comes in implementation of the high directions of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, to consolidate all the society efforts in combatting the spread of smoking among children and adolescents and to quickly intervene to protect Emirati children, being the pillars of future, from falling into this trap. In 2000, the GWU launched this national program with the aim to develop general frameworks to combat this phenomenon in cooperation with all governmental entities at the federal, local and civil society levels, and to then translate them into appropriate mechanisms to stop smoking from spreading among children and adolescents by raising awareness on the health, social and economic dangers of tobacco use, help smoking children and adolescents quit this bad habit and encourage them to adopt healthy habits. Following the GWU initiative to raise this issue, some legislation, laws and resolutions that prohibit smoking in some governmental and private institutions and public utilities have been issued, with other efforts in progress.
The General Women's Union, in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sub-Regional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen, launched a food awareness and school gardens project for the UAE students in the first and second cycles of primary education. The project aims at empowering students and developing their capacities in environmental, health, food and economic fields. While children may be the weakest link in society, they can be at the same time the strongest in future if their talents were developed and their energies exploited to be able to shoulder the great responsibilities awaiting them, for the society to be able to achieve sustainable development and national security requirements, in which food is a top priority. Through this project, the GWU seeks to promote and develop positive behavior in children so that they have the ability to make healthy decisions about their health and well-being, thus contributing to providing some of the necessary protection for children and helping them to live in peace and tranquility.
In April 2014, the General Women's Union launched the "Health in Focus" in recognition of the importance of promoting women's health and enabling them to fulfill their different developmental roles, and in line with the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in the United Arab Emirates. The project includes a series of activities, events and meetings aimed at educating women and all society members about health in general, and improving the health of women and girls in particular through holding periodic health education lectures and health and beauty workshops, as well as encouraging women to exercise and adopt healthy diets.
The General Women’s Union launched the environmental initiative, “To Show Appreciation for Future Generations”, in implementation of the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in the United Arab Emirates and its environmental aspect, launched by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation. The initiative is based on the belief in the necessity of women’s participation and leadership in all fields with the success of sustainable environmental policies depending on the effective involvement of both women and men in the generation of knowledge, environmental education, decision-making and management at all levels. It is also based on the belief that women's experiences and contributions to a sound environment are vital to sustaining the environment for future generations. The initiative "To Show Appreciation for Future Generations" aims to educate women about their different roles in environmental conservation, activate the women’s role in disseminating the environmental culture among family members and the raising the correct environmental behavior in their children, which will be reflected in future on the family and society. The initiative also aims to contribute to reducing women’s environmental footprint to promote the status of the UAE in international forums and to provide women with the skills and methods to enable them to utilize recyclable waste.
As part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative to create vital partnerships between the U.S. and the citizens of the Middle East and North Africa region to enable them to build more pluralistic, participatory and prosperous societies throughout the region.
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