When the world agreed to celebrate ‘happiness’ on 20th March of every year, the UAE decided to set it as a habit. The UAE Happiness Agenda is indeed a very unique concept that UAE Government is trying to implement to set new records in the area.
Guided by the legendary vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city is approaching fast towards transforming itself into the happiest place on the earth. The Happiness Agenda is a science-backed, methodical approach to measure, impact and enduring happiness for the whole city.
The Objective of UAE Happiness Agenda
The primary objective of UAE Happiness Agenda is to create an environment where people an realize their happiness through a bunch of programs, studies and indicators. The agenda is here to boost the optimism of the city and its emotional progress which in turn going to push overall empathy of the country.
In His Highness’s words,
“The happiness of individuals, families and employees in their work, persons in their lives, their optimism about their future and their psychological, professional and social satisfaction need programs and initiatives in each and every government sector. There need be a minister to follow all that up with all sectors and government authorities.“
UAE Happiness Minister
In February 2016, the UAE Government designed the post of Minister of State for Happiness as a crucial step towards making the Happiness Agenda a grand success and Her Excellency Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi was appointed as the Happiness Minister.
The main responsibility of the UAE Happiness Minister is to interact with different governments, ministries and private sectors to achieve a happier society. After the Cabinet reshuffle in the year 2017, another portfolio, the Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, was also created to give a firm push to UAE Happiness Agenda.
UAE Happiness Agenda
The UAE Government set its sights high in making Dubai the happiest city in the world. As the city is transforming through futuristic technology and unprecedented innovation, The Happiness Agenda is prioritizing the fundamental needs of the happiness of the residents as well as the visitors.
This agenda is assisting everyone in the city to reach their short-term and long-term happiness goals. The Happiness Agenda aims to make Dubai a global benchmark for other cities. This whole initiative hopes to discover what people want and need, to bring positive change, to build awareness, promote self-reflection and measure the impact of happiness by using the Happiness Index.
How Does the UAE Measures Happiness?
Happiness Metre is one of Dubai’s leading strategic ‘smart city’ initiatives. This metre was invented to measure the happiness goal. The private sectors and government entities of Dubai can access a centralized data dashboard and a map of happiness across the city.
The Happiness Metre helps several organizations to set up happiness metre touchpoints in order to gain insights on customer experiences within the industry and across geographic areas through direct and web-based interactions. This is the first of its kind program to determine the amount of happiness across a whole city covering both private and government entities.
Dubai Government has also introduced a happiness portal to record and measure the happiness of residents and visitors in the city.
Three Pillars of The National Happiness and Positivity Programme
- Happiness and positivity in government policies and services
- Instilling values of happiness and positivity as a lifestyle
- Developing tools to measure happiness in the community
What Has the UAE Done to Encourage Happiness for all?
UAE’s Happiness Agenda programme decides on government policies, services and programmes that can promote positive virtue of lifestyle in a community and execute a plan for developing a happiness index to measure people’s satisfaction.
Some of the initiatives taken under the Happiness Agenda program are:
- Appointing CEOs for happiness and wellbeing at all government organizations
- Creating councils for happiness and wellbeing at federal entities
- Assigning time for happiness-related programmes and activities at the federal government entities
- Establishing offices for happiness and wellbeing
- Converting customer service centres into customer happiness centres
- Including annual indexes, surveys and reports to measure happiness from all community segments
- Implementation of a standard form for corporate happiness and wellbeing at all government bodies
What Makes UAE The “Happiest Country in The Middle East”
The UAE has been named as the ‘Happiest Country in the Middle East’ by the United Nations’ third World Happiness Report. There are strong reasons behind this declaration and they are as followings:
- GDP per capita: Consumers in the UAE showcase high purchasing power (meaning a high disposable income) that actually makes them capable of contributing more and more to the growth of country’s economy.
- Social support: There’s always someone to count on in times of difficulty in UAE. Thanks to numerous team activities like football groups, trekking organisations and comfort groups, this country ensures that its residents avail the support whenever they need.
- Life expectancy: Data shared by the World Health Organization and World Development Indicators establish that both private and government hospitals all around the UAE along with the companies providing health insurance for all employees keep the UAE residents’ health at top of their priority list. No wonder why Emiratis lead an overall happy and healthy life.
- Freedom to make life choices: The response showered by the residents of the country to the question ‘Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?’ is really overwhelming and it indicates that people are free to take their calls.
- Perceptions of corruption: To determine this factor, the questions was ‘Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?’’ and people living in the UAE mostly answered in negatives indicating that they are quite happy with the great job the government is doing.
- Generosity: A large number of residents in the UAE loves to donate money, clothes, shoes, school items and many useful items to charities, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. This proves they are truly generous kind of people from the bottom of their hearts.
UAE Happiness Day
UAE celebrates the Happiness Day on 20th March which is also the International Happiness Day to rest of the world.
A Brief Timeline Of UAE’s Happiness Agenda
- February 2016: Ohood Al Roumi declared as the Minister of State for Happiness.
- March 2016: The National Happiness and Positivity Charter was announced. The Cabinet also took initiatives and designed projects in line with the same.
- October 2016: The #100DaysOfPositivity initiative was launched to support schools to deliver positive education to students and parents.
- December 2016: The National Survey for Happiness and Positivity was announced and launched. More than 14,000 people were surveyed across the country and asked about the quality of life, education, learning, healthcare, society, culture, environment, infrastructure, government services, living standards and work they are having in the UAE.
- February 2017: Before the World Government Summit, the Ministry of Happiness announced that UAE will lead the formation of a unified guidebook for governments to help improve the standards of happiness across the globe.
- March 2017: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum established the first World Happiness Council right on International Happiness Day (March 20). The council will publish a yearly Global Happiness Report.
UAE Happiness Agenda is a wonderful concept to elevate the living standards of its people. This project not only focuses on the wellbeing of the community but also aims to set an example for the rest of the world in their pursuit of happiness. Understanding Happiness Agenda also helps us to understand the core ethics of UAE Government.