This is a first of its kind initiative in the UAE and targets youth aged 11-18.
The Child Safety Department (CSD), a subsidiary of Sharjah’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs, has launched the ‘Cyber Safety Ambassadors’ initiative, to provide Sharjah children and youth with required skills and training to deliver awareness workshops to their peers and colleagues pertaining to internet safety.
The initiative was launched in collaboration with a number of federal and local entities, including the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Ministry of Community Development (MOCD), Khalifa Empowerment Programme – Aqdar, and Sharjah Police Headquarters. The announcement was made at an event held yesterday (Wednesday) at Sharjah Girl Guides, and attended by child rights experts, government representatives, and 85 children nominated for the initiative.
Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of CSD, introduced the initiative and outlined its goals, while Engineer Adel Al Muahiri, Manager of the National Computer Emergency Response Team, TRA, presented the initiative’s requirements and selection criteria, whereas Iman Harib Al-Falahi, Director of Social Protection Department at MOCD, led an interactive session on child rights and the duties of young ‘ambassadors’ as part of this initiative. Young Rashid Al Tenaiji from Al Dhaid Children’s Center was the event’s EMCEE.
The interactive open-air event also saw a host of fun team-building games, a card-making activity, a dress-up photo booth, healthy snacks, and giveaways for children that included fun and educational games. The initiative aims to educate and train the UAE’s youth in cyber safety best practices and develop their communication and presentation skills, through an intensive training programme that follows a self-learning and instructor-led approach, enabling them to carry these messages to their peers.
This is a first of its kind initiative in the UAE and targets youth aged 11-18. They have been nominated from a number of institutions, including Sharjah Children, Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, Sharjah Youth, which are affiliates of Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators, in addition to Sharjah Girl Guides and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.
At the end of the programme, participants’ performance will be evaluated based on specific criteria. The 20 best candidates will be shortlisted to formally join the initiative’s team and start providing training workshops for their peers in summer camps, child care institutions and public and private schools. The initial training and assessment phase will take place in March and April, and students who clear training, assessment and testing phases will be shortlisted in June.
Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of CSD, said: “This initiative is part of our commitment to raise children’s and youth’s awareness on the principles of cyber security. The training will use new interactive methods to enhance their role and responsibility towards themselves and society. We believe that children and young people are not only passive recipients and learners, but also partners in sharing our message and educating their peers.”
Al Yafei added, “The initiative promotes Sharjah’s stature as a child-friendly city and its launch coincides with Emirati Children’s Day, which reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that all children in the UAE enjoy a safe and stable life, and that their rights are protected, in line with the UAE’s and Sharjah’s visions.”
The initiative’s assessment process aims to evaluate participants’ communication and teamwork skills, and their behaviour and presentation skills. To qualify, applicants must obtain 95 per cent or more in the general assessment stage.
Criteria for participation in the initiative stipulate that applicants must be between 11 and 18 years old with good moral character and be able to prepare and deliver educational presentations in front of an audience. Participation requires parental consent for posting an applicant’s photos on social media and/or print and audiovisual media.
Other criteria include an applicant’s engagement in the initiative for no less than 3 years. Selected ‘ambassadors’ are required to conduct workshops according to their respective age groups, where youth aged 13-18 will deliver 10 workshops every year, while children aged 11-12 will deliver a minimum of 5 workshops per year.