The Department of Community Development (DCD) emphasised on the concepts of financial culture and savings during a panel discussion organised in Abu Dhabi. The panel discussion coincided with the World Savings Day, which falls on October 31 of every year.
The session, which was hosted by the Youth Centre in Abu Dhabi, was attended by His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development, H.E. Eng. Hamad Ali Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Undersecretary of the Department of Community Development, Rashid Atiq Al Hameli, Director General of Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation in Abu Dhabi, and Sarah Shuhail, Director-General of Ewaa, H.E. Salama Al Ameemi, Director General, Ma'an and Her Excellency Sana Mohamed Suhail, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), as well as various representatives of the social sector in Abu Dhabi.
The main objective of the panel discussion was to raise awareness on the values of savings and encourage a culture of smart financial management in the society. By educating society members with the requisite skills in saving to attain a long-term financial stability, the session aimed at building the foundations of a smart financial planning, to help family members in the face of debts and its effects. The discussion further highlighted on various initiatives, as well as the efforts of several organisations that relentlessly strive to educate people in the field of financial education.
Her Excellency Dr. Layla Alhyas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at DCD underlined that the entity works closely with its partners to promote financial literacy and foster a culture of savings among the community's residents. This is in line with Abu Dhabi's social sector agendas for accomplishing strategic goals, which include raising the quality of life for different categories of the society and providing them ample resources to deal with the challenges of daily life. She also emphasised the need of efficiently understanding financial culture principles to improve the standard of living as well as develop the community.
Alhyas further noted that they have been able to assess the levels of financial literacy of the families in the Emirate, through its ‘Quality of Life’ questionnaire that had been introduced over the previous three years. According to the ‘family income and wealth’ pillar, one in four Emirati families saves a significant amount of their monthly income. However, according to the analysis, only 47 per cent of citizens and 58 per cent of residents have a clear financial plan for their families' expenses, and 47 per cent of all Abu Dhabi-based families has the burden to pay back loans.
Alhyas added that the DCD is committed to educating the society about financial culture as a crucial strategy in achieving overall prosperity for families as well as the community. She highlighted that DCD continues to work closely with its partners to support projects and initiatives that are aimed at encouraging financial literacy as well as smart financial planning among families, in addition to educating them about successful debt management, and pension planning.
There are numerous entities in Abu Dhabi's social sector that have implemented several programs for raising financial awareness, such as the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an. This organisation launched the Ghaya financial literacy program, which aims to raise participants' awareness of financial affairs, the importance of savings, successful financial management, and its impact on their lives. The Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority also provides the ‘Financial Advising Program’, which targets families who are financially struggling, and focuses on establishing the principles of financial management within families. It also aims to help families achieve their financial goals as well as help them balance between income and expenses, in addition to raising awareness on the significance of savings.