• The workshop was launched to implement initiatives to protect athletes' rights and ensure that People of Determination enjoy their right in a safe and stable life
• The workshop discussed subunits in all sports clubs and entities affiliated with Special Olympics UAE
Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates, September 20, 2023: Special Olympics UAE organized a workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development to kickstart the implementation of the Athletes Safeguarding Program and implement the program's goals to ensure the rights of people of determination players in clubs, centres, and entities affiliated with the UAE Special Olympics.
The joint workshop held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Community Development in Dubai was attended by 25 coaches and officials from 21 People of Determinations' clubs and centers across the UAE. It also highlighted initiatives to activate player protection units and oblige coaches to complete a specialized training course to protect players with mental and developmental challenges to enhance national efforts and provide a safe and stable environment.
The UAE Special Olympics launched a player protection program in partnership with the Ministry of Community Development in 2021, to ensure that people of determination are safe in their lives, and not being exposed to all forms of harm, and health damage. This is part of an international strategy implemented by the Special Olympics.
The vision of the UAE Special Olympics is in line with the programs committed by the International Special Olympics, including the protection of people of determination athletes with mental and developmental disabilities and increasing the awareness of all technical and administrative teams working in the sports sector of the Special Olympics on the important knowledge related to this subject.
His Excellency Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “We are committed to achieving full protection of our athletes, in line with the UAE's vision to become a global leader in the inclusion of People of Determination in society. To achieve this goal, it is important to focus on qualifying coaches and those who are in close contact with People of Determination at their dedicated clubs and centres on a daily basis.”
Al Hashemi added: “Every coach, seeking employment in any of these clubs and centres, will have to successfully complete the Athlete Safeguarding Course to obtain the certification. I would like to thank our partners at the Ministry of Community Development for their support of our work and their commitment to our athletes' safety and wellbeing.”
Al Hashemi emphasized that these subunits are mandated to regulate coaches' training and certification. As of January 2024, all sports units' employees at any entity affiliated with Special Olympics UAE will have to successfully complete a safeguarding course to be certified to work with Special Olympics UAE's athletes.
The Ministry of Community Development emphasized the necessity of working together with all partners to ensure the equal and inalienable rights of all members of society, especially People of Determination. We are delighted to participate in organizing this workshop alongside our strategic partner, Special Olympics UAE, to integrate and empower People of Determination and ensure their protection. Through the Athletes Safeguarding Program, we aim to educate coaches, carers and every who works with People of Determination with mental and developmental disabilities in their dedicated facilities, about the methods and mechanisms for reporting any abuse or neglect, clearly outlining proactive and reactive procedures that should be undertaken.
The workshop is part of a series of initiatives and programs implemented by Special Olympics UAE in partnership with the Ministry of Community Development, entitled 'Safe Child...Successful Athlete”, and the regional session on player protection policies, held in November 2022 to explain player protection policies, clarify the code of conduct, and other workshops and initiatives.