Dubai makes volunteering, fundraising illegal without authorisation

Organisations are required to seek authorisation for activities and register the personal details of volunteers



Dubai has issued a new law making it illegal to conduct volunteering and fundraising activities without authorisation.

The legislation, issued by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, gives Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA) responsibility to regulate volunteering activities in the emirate.

Dubai Media Office said the change was intended to encourage public and private sector organisations to sponsor volunteering programmes.

The CDA will be responsible for coordinating volunteering programmes and establishing a database of volunteers in Dubai, who will be issued ID cards and participation certificates.

It will also help entities to attract volunteers to their initiatives by nominating those registered in the database based on their skills and qualifications.

Entities conducting volunteering activities must obtain authorisation from the CDA.

In addition, volunteers can only form teams to participate collectively in programmes in Dubai if the team is registered on the CDA’s dataset and has all the required permits.

“The volunteer teams are not allowed to conduct any fundraising activities, including advertising through any kind of media, unless the team obtains approval from CDA,” said Dubai Media Office.

Organisations conducting volunteering activities must set standards and regulations governing them and provide a copy to the CDA. They should also specify the nature of the activity and train volunteers to do the work if required.

Other requirements include that the organiser must maintain a record of volunteer names, personal information, the nature of work they have done and hours worked and input this into the CDA’s database.

All tools and safety equipment required to perform the volunteering tasks must be provided, along with insurance coverage against injuries, contagion and civil liabilities.

Volunteer requirements

On the volunteer side, they must sign the volunteering agreement issued by the CDA, which details the relationship between the volunteer and the entity.

Volunteers must be aged over 18 or have approval from their legal guardian if they are aged under 18. They should also have a record of good conduct, be physically fit and registered as a volunteer with the CDA.

Each individual must commit to the obligations in the agreement and respect confidentiality.

The sponsoring entity will be responsible for all activities carried our by volunteers and the CDA will form an affairs committee to look into complaints or litigation related to the volunteer agreement.

The law will be published in the official gazette and considered effective from the date of publication.

Prior to the new legislation, the UAE was already cracking down on charitable activities.

Australian-British national Scott Richards was arrested at his home in Dubai on July 28, 2016 for the crime of promoting a charity that was not registered in the country.

The case against him was dropped the following September.

Read: Case dropped against Dubai resident detained for “illegally” promoting charity