The Legislations and Policies constitute the legal framework that governs the pillars and paths of the Year of Giving and offers an enabling tool to achieve its vision, mission and general goals. The National Strategy of the Year of Giving seeks to institutionalize humanitarian and charity work in the UAE through laws that govern giving in all its forms and levels, identifies its mechanisms and directs its channels, in a way that ensures the sustainability of these efforts.

In this context, Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, said: "The task of legislation is not merely to maintain the security and rights, but also to protect values and constructive behaviors. It institutionalises, organises and promotes giving, and thus helps achieve happiness."

She affirmed that "all paths of the National Strategy of Giving aim to ensure the sustainability of charity efforts in the country, but there is an urgent need for regulatory and legislative framework for the Year of Giving to ensure its message is conveyed to future generations."

The National Strategy of Giving includes four legislative initiatives and five incentive programs for giving as giving is linked to positive emotions and plays an important role in strengthening community ties, in addition to its role in spreading happiness.

The strategic initiatives include the Federal Law of Volunteerism, which will put all the regulations and practices of volunteerism in a legislative framework, thus contributing to institutionalising and entrenching a culture of volunteerism. The Federal Law of Social Responsibility aims to organise social responsibility in the country and determine its ranges, regulations, incentives, and privileges. The third legislative initiative includes the Federal Law of Endowment, which aims to define endowment and its conditions, provisions, duration and types of endowment. The fourth legislative initiative is the Community Service Procedures initiative that can be applied in case of misdemeanors as an alternative to prison sentences of no more than six months. Likewise, the community service should not exceed three months.

In terms of incentive programmes of giving, there is the Billion of Giving programme that aims to create a suitable platform for the mobile communication devices, in a way that entrenches the culture of giving through a variety of awareness-raising activities. The aim of the programme is to initiate a million ways of giving by the end of 2017, and spread the awareness of the value of giving. There is also the 100 Days of Giving, which complements the "100 Days of Happiness" initiative. This initiative targets the schools and encourages them to organise specific activities that inspire students to understand the concept of giving, with an aim of building generations that make giving an integral part of their lives, within and outside the school.

The motivational programs include the National Survey of Giving initiative that aims to highlight giving behaviors in the UAE community, allowing the development of policies that promote giving and thus achieve happiness. Similarly, the Market of Giving initiative conceptualises an actual market that enables giving generously, and makes it easier for low-income families to meet their basic needs. It aims to contributes to a cultural shift and a change in mindset in the UAE community with regard to giving. Furthermore, the Taste the Flavour of Giving initiative calls for cooperation with local food and drinks suppliers to encourage them to develop an innovative concept on their menus associated with the Year of Giving.

Serving the Nation is an essential pillar in the overall vision of the Year of Giving. It reflects the importance of upholding the values of giving and sacrifice to enhance the country's status socially, economically, intellectually and from a humanitarian angle in a manner that supports its stability and contributes to its advancement.

In this regard, Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, asserted the importance of serving the nation through the National Strategy of Giving. She said: "The Serving the Nation pillar aims to make such service an essential aspect of social behavior for future generations to emulate, and helps define the people of the UAE."

She added: "Through the initiatives of serving the nation, we seek to provide a suitable environment to invest the energies of young people, and encourage young people in large numbers to serve their country and their society in all areas through providing them with various opportunities of giving. We believe doing so will enable them to meet the needs of the community and contribute constructively to its future development. Based on the faith of our leadership that young people are the creators of our future, we have factored in youth perceptions and suggestions in creating these initiatives that seek to drive home the value of service to the nation as the highest form of giving."

The National Strategy of Giving has adopted six initiatives under the agenda of serving the nation, which aim to instill the culture of serving the nation in the younger generation, and ensure a mutual spirit of giving between the country and its people. Young people will be encouraged to serve their nation in various fields and through all available means. The initiatives include 100 Fields to Serve the Nation, which identifies 100 different national development projects within specific areas and sectors.

Furthermore, this initiative includes the development of a platform to serve the nation - one that helps introduce all segments of society, especially young people, to government entities and national institutions that need their efforts and contributions in serving their nation and community.

Serving the nation has been also included in the artistic and literary agenda of the nation. Various artistic and literary awards in the country will include serving the nation as an essential award category, given the importance of artistic and literary awards as creative tools that communicate the message of serving the nation to younger generations. The National Youth Visits initiative for its part, will encourage the local youth councils across the UAE to organise visits to various monuments that symbolize the value of serving the nation and serve as a repository of national and historical stories - such as the Etihad Museum and Wahat Al Karama, among others.

Other initiatives under umbrella of Serving the Nation in the National Strategy of Giving include Pioneers of Giving, which aims to shape one Emirati young man and one Emirati young woman as pioneers of social communication. As ambassadors of the initiative, they will promote the value of giving and how to be practice it among individuals and institutions in the country. A National Idol initiative for its part, promotes role models that set an example in serving the nation, such as doctors, engineers, teachers, directors or even students who have developed nation-wide initiatives, or adopted pioneering ideas in serving the nation for the greater good. Since service to the nation is best reflected in the defence of the homeland, a new initiative has been adopted under the name Pride which seeks to celebrate participants engaged in national service and every success story of championship and sacrifice.

Among its key priorities, the Serving the Nation pillar aims to allocate five artistic and literary awards to acknowledge the values of service to the nation, register 20,000 young nationals in the 100 Fields to Serve the Nation initiative, and organise at least 70 visits by local youth councils to historical and cultural milestones in the country.

Source: Emirates News Agency