Building on the success of the ATMAH project, the region’s first Social Impact Bonds, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an announced an AED4 million investment by Aldar to be allocated to two Social Contracting projects.
The new social investment contributions include AED2.7 million for family counselling services project by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA); and AED1.3 million to support the beneficiaries of Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority’s Programme for Upskilling and Employment of Emiratis that aims to enhance career opportunities for Emirati workforce. Additionally, another AED1 million will be contributed by the prominent businessman, Dr. Abdulkader Sankari, Founder of Sankari Fashion & Investment Group towards Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority’s Programme for Upskilling and Employment of Emiratis.
In the presence of Her Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, both Greg Fewer, Chief Finance and Sustainability Officer and His Excellency Faisal AlHmoudi, Executive Director, Social Incubator and Contracting at Ma’an signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise Aldar’s contributions towards the new projects.
The signing took place at the 2022 edition of the ‘Exchange,’ a space especially designed to educate and empower the Abu Dhabi community and inspire individuals to join the efforts to address social priorities. The theme of this year’s ‘Exchange’ is ‘Collaborate for Good’. Located at The Galleria, Abu Dhabi the social innovation space is open to the public until 29th of March 2022.
His Excellency Faisal AlHmoudi said: “At Ma’an, we continue our diligent efforts to develop strategic partnership programmes that bring together government, the private sector and civil society to deliver lasting, sustainable impact for the Abu Dhabi community. To this end, we ensure strong foundations are in place along with sustainable financial support to enable the community to address the complex social challenges.”
Highlighting the importance of such partnerships with Ma’an, Dr. Abdulkader Sankari, Founder of Sankari Fashion & Investment Group said: “Initiatives like the Social Impact Bonds provide opportunities for the private sector to play an integral role to support the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts to address social priorities. It allows those such as myself and companies like Aldar to support Ma’an’s vision and mission to drive social innovation and inculcate a culture of philanthropy to drive positive social impact.”
Greg Fewer, Chief Finance and Sustainability Officer of Aldar said: “We continue to be proud of the work and collaboration with Ma’an, having been one of the first contributors to the Social Impact Bonds programme in 2020. Our latest partnership alongside the ECA and Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority is another great example of how the public and private sectors can work together to solve social challenges. These contributions articulate Aldar’s responsibility towards our wider community, by helping to shape the communities towards a brighter future.”
ECA’s Family Counselling Services
This ECA project aims to develop family counselling services in Abu Dhabi and enable the relevant authorities to support parents of children aged between 0 to 8 years old to mediate the challenges which may arise through family conflict.
ECA selected the startup that developed Tanfees, a mobile application that connects married couples with psychologists and marriage experts, to run the project. The app is among one of the winners of the third cycle of the Ma’an Social Incubator Programme in 2020 aimed to foster family cohesion.
At the time of this announcement, Ma’an and ECA have successfully completed the first two phases of the family counselling project. The first phase included developing the project’s operational plan and sourcing the main project partners, and the second phase was to facilitate contractual agreements with service providers and the investors for the Social Impact Bonds. In the upcoming third phase, implementation of the project will commence and overseen by a steering committee.
His Excellency Engineer Thamer Rashed Al Qasimi, Executive Director of Special Projects and Partnerships Sector at Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority said: “Addressing and raising awareness about the familial needs of our society is an essential part of our mission at the Abu Dhabi Childhood Authority. We are honoured to partner with Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an and Aldar on a project that we hope will make a tremendous impact on improving the wellbeing of families, and especially, children, to ensure they have a flourishing and prosperous future.”
The Programme for Upskilling and Employment
Part of the empowerment priority of the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority, this programme is designed to equip Emiratis with essential professional skills to find suitable job opportunities and enable them to meet the growing job market demands.
Engineer Qasim Omar Al-Hashemi, the Director of the Empowerment Programs Department of the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority, said: “This strategic collaboration reflects the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority’s keenness to empower the families of the benefited individuals. We are pleased to work closely with Ma’an and its investing partners within the Social Contracting scheme to provide the benefited community members with the needed skills that allow them to have rewarding job opportunities. Such projects will play a vital role in enhancing the beneficiaries’ quality of life and help them achieve the sustainable financial independence.”
Dr. Abdulkader Sankari added: “It is imperative to step up collaboration among all stakeholders in society to tackle social challenges and ensure a better future for all. Social Impact Bonds operates on pay-for-success basis between public sector entities and private sector investors, who finance social interventions up front to solve social challenges in exchange for future payouts. The government pays back the investor after the outcomes are achieved.”
In 2020, the Department of Community Development (DCD), Ma’an, Aldar Education, Aldar Properties, and the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) piloted the first contract of Social Impact Bonds, ATMAH to support the employment of People of Determination. Abu Dhabi is the first across the region to introduce this innovative funding mechanism for social services.
Social Impact Bonds are an internationally established and successful way to finance the delivery of public service, involving the government, a social service provider and a social investor using multi-party partnerships to promote collaboration among the organisations to solve social challenges.