More than 83 million people in 82 countries benefited from Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives’ (MBRGI) humanitarian and social projects in 2020, the foundation’s annual report has revealed.
Amid the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, MBRGI, the region’s largest philanthropic foundation, carried out AED1.2 billion worth of humanitarian, social and developmental projects to aid the vulnerable and empower disadvantaged communities in the face of the biggest health crisis of the century.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the Year in Review 2020 in a special event, held at The Union House in Dubai, to highlight the far-reaching influence of MBRGI’s initiatives and activities during 2020.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “the global COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that strategic and sustainable humanitarian work is the best way to serve people in times of crisis.”
He added, “despite the obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our projects and initiatives rose to the challenge and, in line with our expectations and ambitions, touched over 83 million lives in 82 countries.”
“Besides its influential economic and political role, the UAE is also a humanitarian entity and a beacon of hope in the region.”
Praising the team’s efforts, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “Over 121,000 volunteers and personnel showed competence, courage and determination in the face of the pandemic.” He stressed that “we will continue creating hope across the world, regardless of any circumstances. We will heed the call of humanity wherever it takes us.”
He concluded, “As we continue our work every year, our determination to fulfil our vision grows stronger. We attract more partners and serve more people, and our conviction that humanitarian work is essential to reigniting civilisation burns brighter.”
During the event, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum reviewed The Digital School initiative – a first-of-its-kind educational technology (ed-tech) in the Arab world. The School was launched by MBRGI in November 2020 to provide millions of students around the world with access to world-class education, using smart technologies to address the global educational disruption caused by COVID-19.
His Highness also honored major contributors and donors to the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, the region’s biggest food drive, launched to provide food aid to disadvantaged communities in 30 countries across the four continents of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America during the holy month of Ramadan.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MBRGI, said, “the MBRGI extended a helping hand from the UAE to the rest of the world. Its ongoing efforts have affirmed that what others may see as a challenge, the Foundation sees as an opportunity to achieve more, improve people’s lives and build stable societies.”
MBRGI spent AED 1.2 billion on the projects, programmes and campaigns under its umbrella, touching 83 million lives across 82 countries, compared to 71 million beneficiaries in 2019.
In 2020, 576 employees joined hands with 121,676 volunteers working in beneficiary countries with varying areas of expertise to carry out various humanitarian and developmental programmes and projects.
The MBRGI’s 35 entities implement hundreds of initiatives, campaigns and projects across five main pillars: Humanitarian Aid & Relief, Healthcare & Disease Control, Spreading Education & Knowledge, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Empowering Communities.
The MBRGI carried out Humanitarian Aid & Relief programmes and projects worth AED382 million in 2020 – an increase of AED120 million from 2019, when it offered AED262 million aid projects. The number of beneficiaries of Humanitarian Aid and Relief programmes doubled, reaching 34.8 million people in 2020, compared to 17 million in 2019.
Under the umbrella of MBRGI, the Humanitarian Aid and Relief pillar includes the International Humanitarian City, the UAE Food Bank, the Mohammed bin Rashid Humanitarian and Charity Establishment (MBRCH), the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia UAE), and the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy.
Under the Humanitarian Aid and Relief pillar, the ‘10 Million Meals’ campaign, the largest community campaign of its kind, launched in Ramadan 2020, provided the equivalent of 15.3 million meals to COVID-19-hit individuals and families across the UAE, with the help of 130,000 donors and 1,000 volunteers.
The World’s Tallest Donation Box initiative was launched to support the ’10 Million Meals’ campaign to encourage people across the UAE to donate as little as AED10 to provide one meal for those in need. For every AED 10 donated, one pixel on Burj Khalifa was lit, gradually illuminating the 1.2 million lights on the facade of the world’s tallest building, one at a time, in a message of hope and solidarity to the world amid the global pandemic.
Within one week, the World’s Tallest Donation Box raised AED12 million, equivalent to 1.2 million meals, from 8,500 donors from 111 nationalities.
The UAE Food Bank distributed 9,086 tonnes of food during 2020 to provide a safety net for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across the UAE. It also organized an awareness campaign for 250,000 laborers to raise awareness of the importance of food safety and hygiene at a time of a public health crisis.
The MBRCH’s programmes and initiatives reached 2.1 million people across Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, and Ghana in 2020.