SHARJAH, (Pakistan Point News - 14th Sep, 2023) The Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) has underscored the fundamental principles of empowering families and women, well-being, and progress on the inaugural day of the 12th edition of International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2023), which is taking place in Expo Centre Sharjah under the theme ‘Today's Resources... Tomorrow's Wealth’.
Vibrant families lay the foundations of strong societies
In a panel discussion titled ‘Empowering Families, Enriching Nations’, Sheikh Majid bin Sultan bin Saqer Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Districts & Villages Affairs Department, stressed: “Our focus remains on addressing community needs and tackling societal challenges.
Their "solution and referral" approach effectively resolves issues, offering immediate solutions when feasible and directing complaints to the relevant departments when necessary. This underscores the remarkable inter-agency collaboration within Sharjah”.
For her part, Dr. Khawla Abdulrahman al Mulla, Chairperson of the Family Affairs Authority in Sharjah, said: “We must invest in children, youth, and families to realise the development goals of Sharjah and the UAE, in line with our leadership's longstanding vision.
For this reason, we have established libraries in suburbs to raise awareness among every family member, recognising their integral role in national development”.
She added: “Communication plays a pivotal role in increasing family awareness on important issues, while also highlighting the facilities and centres within the emirate dedicated to supporting and ensuring the well-being of children and their families”, the panel have witnessed the attendance of the famous former American judge, Frank Caprio.
Children: A nation’s most valuable resource
Thamer AlQasimi, Executive Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, emphasised, “We must protect our children and provide a nurturing environment for them, as they are our most valuable resource. To achieve this, we rely on the media to think creatively and produce content that embraces our identity and heritage, laying a strong foundation for younger generations from an early age.
This ensures they develop strong personalities and a profound awareness of their potential and capabilities, enabling them to contribute to their nation's growth."
He added that the forum's slogan, "Today's Resources... Tomorrow's Wealth," underscores the path towards building wealth that relies on the new generations. It emphasises the importance of instilling noble values and principles in children from an early age, particularly because approximately 90% of children shape their awareness and values before turning nine years old.
At the Talks Shaping Communities space designed for DSCD’s activities and presentations at IGCF 2023, Dr. Khalil Al-Zyoud, a renowned Family Relations consultant, delivered an inspirational talk titled ‘Prioritising Wellbeing and Mental Health: The Path to Productivity’.
Addressing a packed audience room, he said, “To ensure our well-being and maintain productivity, it is essential to nurture healthy relationships that support our personal and professional growth.
Additionally, finding contentment and satisfaction in our achievements is crucial, as it keeps our spirits high and significantly enhances our productivity”.
Dr. Al-Zyoud concluded his talk by underscoring, “We should welcome constructive criticism from those around us. Being receptive to advice and critique demonstrates our openness to diverse perspectives and our willingness to make changes that ultimately improve ourselves and boost our productivity”.
Concluding their activities on Day 1 of IGCF 2023, DSCD organised a panel discussion titled ‘A New Form of 'Soft' Power: Empowering Women as an Economic Enabler.’
Speakers Hanan Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), and Dr. Aisha bint Butti Bin Bishr, a Global Digital Transformation Expert and Strategic Leader in Smart City Initiatives, highlighted key challenges that women face in labour markets and vital sectors, as well as the opportunities available to them.
Dr. Aisha highlighted that Emirati women have been long empowered. She recounted an experience from her 2004 studies in Britain, where she attempted to open a bank account in Manchester. Facing a three-week wait for an appointment, a local supervisor advised her to involve a male relative like her father or brother to expedite the process. This contrasted starkly with her treatment as a woman in her home country, where she found it easier to access both private and public services.
Even within her own household, the British supervisor expressed admiration for the advantages enjoyed by Emirati citizens.
Hanan Ahly affirmed the strong foundation of women's empowerment, particularly within the Emirate of Sharjah and its institutions. The UAE, she noted, has been an exemplar in institutionalising women's empowerment since the 1970s, with significant initiatives such as the establishment of the General Women's Union and the formation of the UAE Gender Balance Council. “These institutions have operated with a visionary approach, documenting the Emirati model and exporting it globally. They have conducted research to enhance empowering practices, not only fostering women's social and economic participation but also challenging stereotypes associated with women's roles in Arab and Gulf societies.” she added.