Abu Dhabi has launched a digital platform aiming to raise awareness about the importance of seeking professional help at the first signs of conflict among couples to reduce divorce rates during the early stages of marriage.
The research conducted by the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD) shows that approximately 62 percent of Emirati couples in Abu Dhabi face divorce during the first four years of marriage.
According to Dr Layla al-Hyas, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at DCD, the platform called ‘Tegahwa’ has been designed based on the results of the above research. It is also the first of its kind in the UAE’s capital.
The Tegahwa initiative by DCD is in the pilot phase, launched in cooperation with the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and private sector partners.
‘Tegahwa’ is a traditional Emirati word, rooted in authentic customs, that means discussing important matters and addressing challenges between the two families of the spouses.
The pilot phase of the platform will be run by family relations specialists from the private sector, including Takalam Online Counselling, Yas Island, and Maudsley Health, under the supervision of FDF.
Al-Hyas said that the studies also shed light on the causes of divorce in the emirate that include poor communication and conflict resolution skills, lack of quality time spent together, and a delay or reluctance in seeking marriage counselling.
“Tegahwa aims to provide support and guidance to couples who encounter issues in communicating, understanding and resolving conflicts, in addition to difficulties related to raising children, which may lead to differences of opinion between spouses,” she said.
She added that Tegahwa provides a comfortable environment that guarantees confidentiality and privacy and is tailored to couples’ needs. The easily accessible platform incorporates a set of innovative elements, such as personalized motivational text messages for couples based on their data, and a reward system that seeks to strengthen family bonds through offering suggestions for various recreational activities for couples and children to spend quality time together.
Al-Hyas clarified that evaluating the platform’s effectiveness based on approved and measurable indicators is one of the key objectives of the pilot phase that will support the expansion and sustainability of the project.
Tegahwa is a result of DCD’s ongoing research efforts, such as the Quality of Life (QOL) survey, now in its third edition, which help identify challenges facing the community and develop feasible solutions.
The initiative contributes to achieving the Department’s vision of providing dignified life for every member of the community, in addition to enhancing family cohesion, improving societal well-being, and increasing the happiness of citizens and residents of Abu Dhabi.
Wafaa al-Ali, Director of the Family Guidance and Consultations Administration at FDF, said: “This partnership with DCD to develop Tegahwa initiative aims to enhance and consolidate family cohesion and resolve disputes between spouses in the early stages of marriage, in addition to providing support and guidance for couples facing difficulties in communicating with each other, in order to raise happy children, build a close-knit family, and build a community that enjoys a higher quality of life.”
She explained that both the entities — DCD and FDF — seek to develop mechanisms of joint work that contributes to building future plans that highlights the most pressing and potential challenges, to improve the social sector efficiency.
Al-Ali added that FDF was keen to provide psychological and social counseling and guidance to couples through the Tegahwa platform, and “take proactive steps aimed primarily at protecting married life from complications that obstruct the stability and progress of families for the better, while maintaining complete privacy and confidentiality for applicants of the service.”
The FDF official also shed light on the need to make the most of the incentive programs of Teqahwa platform, developed to enhance communications between family members and the community, and bridge emotional gaps caused by preoccupation of one of the partners in the family, whether it is for work, study, or life requirements, especially considering the current extraordinary global circumstances.