Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.
The national volunteering campaign "UAE Volunteers" has launched an initiative to build the skills of field journalists through a "remote" training session that focuses on safe volunteering methods to combat COVID-19, extending from mid-May until 12 July 2020, and is being provided through the national volunteering platform "volunteers.ae", in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development, UAE Journalists Association, and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences. The training session is being organised by Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, under the title “Getting Ready to Volunteer to Combat COVID-19”, and seeks to equip volunteers with the necessary information and facts about the virus, its ways of spreading, and the precautions they need to take to protect themselves and others while volunteering to limit the spread of the pandemic. It was effectively launched as a response to the increase in demand for training targeting volunteers in the UAE.
As part of the launch, Hessa Tahlak, Assistant Undersecretary of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Community Development, and official spokesperson for UAE Volunteers, explained that the training session was one of over 100 volunteering opportunities and initiatives being offered by "volunteers.ae" to all segments of society, with both traditional field volunteering and virtual "remote" volunteering experiences available. She then emphasised the importance of the specialist training session in protecting reporters and videographers working in the field and equipping them with the knowledge they need to safely do their jobs from the front lines. "Their field efforts form an essential basis on which new initiatives and ideas are built to combat COVID-19," she said.
Mohammed Al Hamadi, Chairman of the UAE Journalists Association, confirmed that the Association was committed to supporting journalists at all times and under all conditions, especially during the current pandemic. "The Association is working on protecting journalists whose duty to provide information and meaningful media content involves covering these events from various locations," he said. The training session, titled “Getting Ready to Volunteer to Combat COVID-19”, was organised to raise awareness among journalists of the protective measures they should be taking while reporting from the field to guarantee their own safety on the job. Al Hamadi then praised the continuous efforts being made by the UAE Government, UAE Volunteers, and "volunteers.ae" to support journalists and provide them with the best equipment.
For her part, Amna Al Ketbi, Chairwoman of the Training and Development Committee and Member of the UAE Journalists Association, stated that journalists had a responsibility to communicate accurate information through various media channels. "This responsibility has doubled during the current global health crisis of COVID-19," she added. She then emphasised the importance of implementing the protective measures and guidelines issued by the wise leadership to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus and reinforce public safety.
Al Ketbi further emphasised the session’s value in promoting safety among journalists working in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterated the importance of their role in conveying news and information to the community, as well as following-up on events and developments through traditional and digital media outlets.
Al Ketbi stated that to participate in the training session to register for the virtual volunteering opportunities being provided through the UAE Volunteers campaign, join the session using the platform ‘volunteers.ae’ and link: https://www.volunteers.ae
Professor Nabil Zary, Director of the Institute for Excellence in Health Professions Education in MBRU, said: “During these extraordinary times we are happy to provide educational courses to our community to help equip them with the knowledge of COVID-19 and how they can protect themselves and their communities. We are all very excited about working closely with the Ministry of Community Development and providing our Let’s Gear Up to Volunteer and defy COVID-19 course to journalists who are part of the UAE Journalists Association through the UAE Volunteers Platform. The media are an integral part of our community, they are often the first on the ground reporting despite challenging conditions. Nowadays while the world is social distancing and isolating, our media friends are out reporting the latest news in the fight against COVID-19. We are confident that this course will equip them with the know-how of using protective personal equipment, and we wish them the very best in their work.”
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