Ma’an, The Authority of Social Contribution, will host a new space called the The Exchange at Yas Mall through to March 7.
The Exchange will serve as a platform to offer inspiration, free workshops and the chance to meet like-minded people who are passionate about helping others. Visitors can also learn more about Ma’an’s mission, discover volunteering opportunities and take steps toward fostering their own social enterprises.
“Abu Dhabi is full of potential budding social entrepreneurs who have the drive and the passion to give back to the community,” said Salama Al Ameemi, Ma’an’s director general. “Through launching The Exchange, our aim is to root Ma’an at the heart of the community and provide a platform that encourages social impact ideas and for good causes to flourish.”
The space will be divided into five different areas: “Join the Community,” “Get Inspired,” “Learn from Others,” “Make New Connections,” and “Get Involved.” There will be an exhibition outlining the story of Ma’an, as well as specialized workshop areas.
Visitors will get the chance to network, to attend talks and workshops, to browse inspiring books, to work on their own projects, and to meet future collaborators in the informal lounge space. Each of the following four weeks will feature a different theme, with talks and active workshops hosted by international expert speakers and social entrepreneurs.
Among the speakers: Chris West, partner at Sumerian Partners and recipient of 2013’s World Corporate Social Responsibility award for Social Innovation; Michael Green, chief executive of the Social Progress Imperative who was named among GQ’s 100 Most Connected Men in Britain in 2016; Tracey Austin, global head of impact investments at Palladium; and Jane Newman, international director of social finance and a board member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association.
The program for Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays will focus on creating positive community change and solving social challenges. Among the specific issues that will be addressed are reducing social isolation among the elderly and improving the inclusion of people of determination.
Tuesdays will feature Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Mornings and University Afternoons. Pre-booked sessions have been designed to engage and challenge CSR representatives and university students.
Wednesdays will focus on mental wellbeing, with panel discussions and mindfulness workshops aimed to help participants heal, meditate, practice yoga, and more.
Weekends will be family-friendly, catering to parents and children with arts and craft workshops. There will be storytelling sessions on Fridays and Saturdays delivered by Emirati artist Dana Al Mazrouie. Hosted in collaboration with Early Starters, young visitors will have the chance to hear stories read by their favorite authors. Sessions might also combine child-friendly yoga with calming storytelling.
“It is an inspiring space that will give Abu Dhabi’s aspiring impact-makers the opportunity to channel their visions and passion into projects that can make a lasting, positive change in our community,” said Al Ameemi.
“Whether you have an idea for a social business or want to make a difference through your company’s CSR budget or simply want to discover how you can help others in the community, The Exchange by Ma’an is the place to visit.”
Ma’an was established in 2019 by the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi. Its aim is to bring together the government, private sector and civil society to support a culture of social contribution and participation. Ma’an will support the “third sector” — or volunteer groups; it will help not-for-profit associations, foundations and social-enterprise groups contribute to the development of strong, active and connected communities. Ma’an is part of the Ghadan 21 program that is working to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s economy.