Dubai’s Community Development Authority Launches ‘Friends for the Rights of the Child’ Awareness Programme

Press release
Published November 20th, 2017 - 11:54 GMT
Maitha Al Shamsi, Executive Director of CDA’s Human Rights Sector
Maitha Al Shamsi, Executive Director of CDA’s Human Rights Sector

The Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai has launched the “Friends for the Rights of the Child” programme during a ceremony it had organised to mark World Children’s Day on November 20, 2017.

The initiative seeks to promote and spread awareness around human and children’s rights in the UAE. The programme familiarises students with their rights, while advocating for these rights to be upheld in academic institutions and society at large. The programme also trains allies or “Friends” of children’s rights to help spread awareness of children’s rights in their workplaces and communities.

Maitha Al Shamsi, Executive Director of CDA’s Human Rights Sector, said: “The Community Development Authority is working to implement the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership, launching initiatives and pragmatic plans to advocate for children’s rights across the emirate. Our goal is to create a society in which every child enjoys a dignified and secure life. The Authority’s Human Rights Sector is constantly working to develop strategies that uphold children’s rights and protect them from all forms of abuse.”

“The Friends for the Rights of the Child” programme is an ideal platform to engage and educate children to become ambassadors among their peers, as well as the community at large, advocating for rights and social issues of importance,” Al Shamsi added.

The programme consists of a group of students, 10 to 15 years old, from public and private schools across Dubai, where two supervisors are appointed per school. Its mission is to implement a range of awareness-raising activities that promote a culture that upholds children’s rights inside and outside of school. Each semester, participants focus on one category of rights and direct all their activities and efforts to understanding this right and its implications.

The programme takes its participants through four stages: Children who apply must first pass a series of awareness workshops on children’s rights; they then proceed to organise activities and events inside and outside school; this is followed by field visits to institutions and organisations that support children’s rights; and finally, each participant’s activities are evaluated to determine how far along they’ve progressed in their training.

Participants will also receive membership cards for the “The Friends for the Rights of the Child” programme from the Community Development Authority, as well as a certificate of gratitude to each member. The membership also allows them to participate in the Authority’s activities, and to avail rewards and gifts dedicated to members of the programme.

At its World Children’s Day ceremony, CDA honoured the Dubai Educational Zone and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai for their contributions to the success of the “Know Your Rights” programme, which seeks to educate the general public about children’s rights in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the UAE. The programme targeted more than 20 public and private schools in the Emirate of Dubai and, in its most recent edition, enlisted more than 5,000 students.

Background Information

Community Development Authority

​​​The Community Development Authority (CDA) was founded by a decree of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in July 2008. CDA is responsible for setting up and developing a framework for social development, and aims to achieve the goals outlined in the Dubai Strategic Plans.

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