The United Arab Emirates isn’t leaving the happiness of its citizens to chance. To facilitate this, a government lead happiness initiative was introduced in the UAE, which was an important aspect of the country’s National Agenda. The happiness initiative in Dubai and the rest of the UAE aims to make the country one of the top five happiest in the world by 2021. With the goal of promoting optimism and positivity amongst its citizens, the UAE also appointed a Minister of Happiness a few years ago. What is the Happiness Ministry in Dubai? What is the National Program for Happiness and Positivity? Let’s find out.
Who is the UAE Minister of Happiness?
The post of the Minister of State for Happiness was created by the UAE government in February 2016. Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi was appointed to this post, which was a landmark moment in the history of the UAE. Following the cabinet reshuffle in 2017, a portfolio was added to the State for Happiness, making Her Excellency the first official Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing.
The UAE has made history by becoming the first country to formally include happiness as one of the key goals of the government. By instituting such a department, the government has shown its dedication to promoting positivity and looking after the well-being of residents.
National Program for Happiness and Positivity
Presented by Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi in 2016, the National Program for Happiness and Positivity was reviewed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. With policies that are tailored to ensure the well being of both expatriates and locals, the programme introduces services and government procedures that promote the benefits of adopting positive lifestyles in the community.
A move that encourages private and government sectors to recommend, launch and adopt related initiatives, the programme also aims for the development of a happiness index to measure people’s satisfaction levels.
To put it in perspective, the National Program for Happiness and Positivity covers three major areas:
- Promoting positivity and happiness in the community
- Development of tools that measure the standard of happiness
- Inclusion of happiness initiatives in services, programmes and policies at workplaces and governmental bodies.
A few initiatives have been launched as a part of this programme.
1. Community Initiatives.
- Happiness Metre: A metre designed to rate how satisfied customers are with government services was introduced. The metres are connected to a network operated by the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, which analyzes the reports and forwards them to the Dubai Executive Council. The aim of the process is to identify if customers are happy with the services offered. A one-of-a-kind initiative meant to measure experiences across an entire city, the Happiness Metre includes government as well as private entities
- National Survey for Happiness and Wellbeing: A survey was conducted among 16,000 people across the UAE to find out how to promote wellbeing and happiness in communities, with the results being communicated to government entities
- Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Bundle: A set of policies were designed to enhance the wellbeing of all groups in society. Examples include the “Back to School Policy” which allows employees in government offices flexible working hours so employees can accompany their kids to schools when they reopen.
2. Government Initiatives
Some of the initiatives to improve happiness and satisfaction undertaken by the government as a part of the National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing are as follows:
- Happiness and Positivity Talks: A series of seminars were conducted to align the work of the government with employee wellbeing
- Happiness and Positivity Champions Medal: An award was instituted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to pays tribute to employees with outstanding performances at customer happiness centres
- Customer Happiness Trainers Program: A certified training program was conceptualised to provide necessary training in customer happiness centres with a bid to boost citizen satisfaction for government services.
3. National Charter for Happiness
An initiative of the National Program for Happiness, the National Charter for Happiness was launched in March 2016. The charter specifies the country’s commitment to creating productive and happy work environments at federal government bodies. Some of the initiatives introduced by the charter are as follows:
- Designating time for activities and programmes that promote happiness at the federal government
- Appointing CEOs for positivity and happiness in all governmental bodies
- Establishing councils to ensure that all services and plans follow a unified approach to create positivity and happiness
- Transforming customer service centres to customer happiness centres.
4. Friends of Happiness Platform
Launched in April 2017, the Friends for Happiness platform is an electronic portal that aims to encourage the public to involve themselves in the initiatives put forth by the National Happiness and Positivity Program.
5. Happiness Research Institute
In collaboration with the National Program for Happiness and Positivity, the UAE University (UAEU) established the Emirates Centre for Happiness Research in 2017. Composing of a board of trustees supervised by a director-general, the Centre will conduct studies regarding the science of happiness and measure related indices.
6. Labour Happiness Programme
In line with the National Positivity and Happiness initiative, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) also launched a series of actions aimed to promote happiness in the country’s labour class. These include:
- Happiest Work Environment
- Best Labour Accommodation
- Happiest Bus
- Happiness SIM
Amongst these, the aim of Best Labour Accommodation is to comply with the Manual of the General Criteria for Worker’s Accommodation. The manual sets the standard for the minimum facilities that all businesses are expected to provide labourers in terms of established safety, health and environmental laws in addition to recreational amenities.
Dubai Plan 2021
In an effort to work towards the wellbeing of the people of Dubai, the Dubai Plan 2021 was set up with six themes to highlight strategic developments for the emirate’s vision for 2021.
This is a quintessential area in the Dubai 2021 plan meant to address the traits that must be developed and reinforced in the people of Dubai to make them capable of driving the city into the future.
With the goal of being “an inclusive and cohesive society” this aspect of the Dubai Plan 2021 is based on inculcating tolerance, forgiveness, communication and respect to facilitate a multicultural society.
This theme focuses on improving living conditions in Dubai by addressing the need to provide housing services, education and health along with a rich cultural experience.
This facet of the plan aims to build a fully integrated and connected infrastructure to provide easy mobility for tourists and residents in addition to ensuring the availability of clean energy sources.
This element of the plan for 2021aims to move Dubai to a sustainable economic model driven by a business-friendly environment.
This theme gauge’s people’s satisfaction with government services.
That’s all for our review of Dubai’s happiness initiative and the UAE National Program for Happiness and Positivity. Want to do your part? Start by introducing fun activities in Dubai at your workplace here. For more information on how the government of Dubai works to make the lives of the people easier, check out the facilities provided to people of determination.