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Community Development Organization: “Thukhur Social Club” Essay


Introduction

The formation of organizations is usually geared towards the attainment of predetermined goals. The realization of the set ends could become challenging if an organization does not have the capacity to implement all its strategies. For this reason, partnerships are recommended whereby an organization collaborates with other agencies to complement their operations.

Partnerships are essential, especially in the social services sector, which aims at enhancing positive social change through empowerment (Thopa, 2014). This paper will analyze a particular community development organization, the services offered, types of partnerships that it engages in, and the challenges it faces coupled with how the partnerships can be enhanced to facilitate quality services provision.

Description of the Organization

As a requirement of the Families and Community course, an organization was to be chosen by students who would volunteer their services in various areas as per the objectives of the organization. This reflection will be based on an elderly center called the “Thukhur Social Club.” The center operates in the UAE with its premises located in the city of Dubai at a place called Al Barsha. The Thukhur Social Club is strategically situated in a villa neighborhood that provides a conducive environment for the elderly to receive services meaningful to them.

The elderly club was established in 2013 by the UAE government to provide social services to the people above the age of 60 years. The initiative was a pioneering move since there are no similar agencies in the UAE (CDA, 2015).

The Community Development Authority (CDA) oversees the activities of the club to ensure that they are in line with the objective of empowering the elderly group in society. Funding for the club’s activities is from the UAE central government, whereby budgetary allocations have been made for the execution of such services.

The Thukhur Social Club offers a range of services to the older persons within Dubai and its environs. Some of the services provided include basic education, recreation and entertainment, and physical fitness. This goal is facilitated by the presence of a library, a spa, a gym area, and a spacious living room. The library seeks to enhance the literacy skills of the elderly, whereby the staff members assist them in reading and writing.

Well-wishers, who saw the significance of empowering the elderly in society, donated most books found in the library. A good number of books found in the library are historical and religious. The spacious and attractive living room allows the elders to move freely and relax comfortably as they socialize and discuss different relevant issues. In addition, the living room acts as an entertainment area where games and other fun activities are carried out.

The gym area is primarily set for facilitating physical fitness exercises among the elderly. The club’s elderly women are specifically advantaged, given the presence of a spa and a beauty section in the club. The spa area allows elderly women to relax and attend to their skin and hair.

The Thukhur Social Club engages in partnerships with various other parties that support its activities towards promoting positive social change among the elderly. The club is in constant association with the CDA, the government, learning institutions, the community, and the media. The club maintains a healthy relationship with the government, given that it was a pioneer project by the government in the social services sector. The organization also maintains partnerships with the CDA.

The CDA manages and oversees the operations of the club, as it seeks to make Dubai a model that inspires the well-being of the community. The club partners with the CDA to ensure the unceasing elevation of the elderly’s living standards through the integration of policies and services of desirable quality.

In a bid to give back to society, the club partners with schools in Dubai as it targets to inspire the younger generation and provide moral guidance. For instance, the club organized a trip to a local school aimed at socializing and exchanging ideas on the impacts of the contemporary world to the current generation. Cultural aspects such as marriages and the preparation of traditional recipes were discussed in line with the traditional and secular values.

It was observed that the club partners with the media houses for purposes of raising awareness about the existence of the club and its aims. The club’s messages about the need for improving the well-being of the elderly are usually channeled via the media. The social club also partners with the community in the upgrading of its library facility. The community around Al Barsha has donated books to the club, thus facilitating learning among the elderly.

Plan for Enhanced Partnerships

Partnerships between Thukhur Social Club and other agencies such as the CDA, government, and the community have portrayed the significance of such engagements for the success of the clubs’ endeavors. However, some weaknesses exist within the partnerships, thus leading to inefficiencies in its operations. Since the club aims at providing social services that would improve the well-being of the elderly in Dubai, strengthening the partnerships is vital.

The loopholes evident in the partnerships include the lack of professional management of the various services offered by the club and the scope of operations. In this light, the club lacks the specialized personnel to run the various services offered, and its intent of improving the lives of the elderly is limited only to the Al Barsha area and its immediate environs. On the issue of professional services inadequacies, the club has failed to offer specialized attention to its various departments.

For instance, the library lacks a librarian to guide and assist the elderly in how they can access books on particular topics. Those who cannot understand the Arabic discourse face translation challenges. This aspect would have been made better if a professional librarian could handle the translation roles to incorporate elders from different cultural backgrounds.

The gym areas lack instructors to help the elderly carry out basic exercises to improve their physical fitness and health in general. Workers help elderly women in the spa and beauty section, but this move is insufficient since the nature of such services needs expert attention.

On the other hand, the Thukhur Social Club is limited in the scope of its operations, as it does not extend its services to the greatest majority in Dubai. For this reason, the club has not been in a position to serve all the elderly persons that need to be empowered. Therefore, its operations tend to foster exclusion of other individuals who might be vulnerable but residing outside Al Barsha.

In addition, the facility is not large enough to accommodate a large number of elders since extra beneficiaries are expected to join the club with time. In this regard, the growth aspect of the club has not been factored in its partnership with the government.

Therefore, the formulation and implementation of specific plans are essential aspects for the improvement of partnerships that would, in return, enhance its service provision (Wacker & Roberto, 2013). For the first weakness, the oversight authority, viz. CDA should formulate policies aimed at recruiting professional individuals to run the various social institutions it manages, including the club.

This move could entail advertising vacant positions in the club, encouraging graduates to take internship programs in the club, or seeking professional volunteers from the community. Therefore, the Thukhur Social Club management, in collaboration with CDA, should devise a recruitment plan that prioritizes the services that need special attention.

The scope of the club’s operations could be widened if the partnership with the government is reviewed and strengthened. The CDA should lobby for the devolution of social service resources. In this case, decentralizing the disbursement of funds needed for the development of the elderly centers would put the CDA in a better position to expand the club and establish new branches.

Thus, the expansion of the facility to other regions in the UAE would help attain the CDA’s vision of integrating the elderly from all over Dubai to elevate their well-being. Consequently, more clubs for the elderly would be established, thus widening the operations of Thukhur Social Club to other areas to benefit more elders.

In conclusion, partnerships play an important role in the realization of an organization’s endeavors. The case of the Thukhur Social Club portrayed both strong and weak aspects of its operations. The club manifested its strengths in collaborating with the community in terms of education programs such as visits to schools and being provided with books for its library.

Weaknesses in its partnerships lie in the lack of capacity to provide specialized services and extend its services to other potential elderly beneficiaries within the UAE. Plans to enhance effective partnerships such as the devolution of funds and recruitment of professionals need to be implemented for the better management of the social services.

References

CDA: Elderly Services. (2015). Web.

Thopa, M. (2014). NGO Partnerships: Opportunities and Challenges. Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

Wacker, R., & Roberto, K. (2013). Community Resources for Older Adults: Programs and Services in an Era of Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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IvyPanda. "Community Development Organization: “Thukhur Social Club"." May 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/community-development-organization-thukhur-social-club/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Community Development Organization: “Thukhur Social Club"." May 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/community-development-organization-thukhur-social-club/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Community Development Organization: “Thukhur Social Club"'. 5 May.

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