MA’AN’S ‘LET’S CONNECT’ PROGRAMME HELPS ADDRESS KEY SOCIAL PRIORITIES

Let’s Connect’, a virtual programme launched by the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an received an overwhelming response as Abu Dhabi residents came together to share inspiring stories and videos in online initiatives that focused on addressing key social priorities.

During the 10-week initiative, users of different nationalities and ages turned to social media to give advice and post comments, pictures and videos of their talents and interests across four categories of interest – Health and Wellness, Business and Coaching, Community and Arts and Culture, helping to bring the Abu Dhabi community together.

The first-of-its-kind programme, led by four dedicated ambassadors, featured a combination of virtual content from live Instagram sessions to fun initiatives across a range of topics, generating strong engagement and interaction amongst the Abu Dhabi community.

Each of the 20 activities, which received more than 450 submissions and 80,000 engagements, were developed to help Ma’an in addressing some of the most pressing social priorities being faced today in Abu Dhabi.

The social priorities highlighted during the programme were: Social cohesion, mental health, inclusion, activation, physical health and economic empowerment. These social priorities have been identified by the Department of Community Development through its Quality of Life survey.

As an Emirati triathlete, Health and Wellness ambassador – Faris Al Zaabi introduced initiatives that focused on encouraging healthy habits, staying active during Ramadan, having a strong mentality and why eating nutritional balanced meals are important.

His ‘My Transformation Story’ initiative raised awareness about mental health and inclusion priorities. It enabled users to support one another and acknowledge how some members of the community had to deal and overcome different challenges.

Among the submissions received was from former rugby player Mike Ballard, who shared his experience of being paralysed following an injury when playing in Abu Dhabi. He explained how the incident changed his life but is now driving him to achieve his goal of participating in the Paralympics.

Tanya Awad, Community ambassador and a Community Development Specialist, launched initiatives that enabled participants to share images of Iftar meals, express their gratitude and appreciation, engage in DIY projects and raise awareness on environmental concerns.

Her live Instagram session of ‘How Are You, Really?’ helped address the social priorities of social cohesion, mental health and inclusion. Joined by Business and Coaching ambassador Arsalan Al-Hashmi, the audience was encouraged to take the effort to know how your friends, colleagues, and even strangers around you are feeling.

Arts and Culture ambassador Shayma Sabry, a Figure Skater and Beauty Blogger, rolled out initiatives that highlighted the diversity of Abu Dhabi – activities that celebrated and recognised the community’s talents and creative videos and images that focused on fun and humour.

Her ‘Just AD Things’ initiative saw individuals share their memories and images of Abu Dhabi to help address inclusion and social cohesion with a frequent visitor of Abu Dhabi believing the ‘calming energy and spirit’ is what makes the city unique.

Business and Coaching ambassador Arsalan Al-Hashmi, a High Performance coach, launched initiatives that helped people to reduce anxiety, be more productive at work and develop strategies that will help the community thrive.

Among them was ‘Adapting to the New Work Environment’ which focused on inclusion, social cohesion, mental health and activation priorities. Serving as a platform for ongoing exchange and productivity advice, there were more than 80,000 engagements.

Among the submissions received were from a resident who revealed why she regularly calls her colleagues when working at home instead of emailing to support social cohesion and mental health.

Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “As the latest of our pioneering programmes that was created to help our on-going efforts of increasing community engagement and driving social inclusion across Abu Dhabi, we are extremely proud to have witnessed incredible results and the positive impact ‘Let’s Connect’ has had. In the space of just over two months, many people from different walks of life and nationalities have come together every day to tell their stories through their own videos or posts, becoming a source of inspiration to many others and becoming inspired to live a mentally and physically stronger lifestyle.

“Every single submission and engagement helped raise awareness of the different social priorities that we are aiming to address in Abu Dhabi and the programme served as a vital platform that encouraged participation and enabled individuals to appreciate and be inspired by others across the Emirate.

“More importantly, it gave everyone a sense of belonging and the responsibility to do their part on how they can help us make Abu Dhabi a more inclusive place for all residents for years to come.”

Her Excellency added: “Let’s Connect has proven to be a successful programme and it is imperative we build on this. Therefore, I encourage as many people as possible to continue getting involved and take part in the fun and interactive activities by submitting their videos and images that focuses on addressing social priorities.”

For more information about the ‘Let’s Connect’ programme or how to participate, please visit www.letsconnect.ae.

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