Charity careers in the UAE

Is working full-time for an NGO possible in this region?

by Rachel McArthur

Taking part in charity work in the UAE is not only incredibly rewarding, but also surprisingly easy to do. If you have the time to donate, then there are plenty of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that you can volunteer for (most of which are listed on Musahama, a website by the UAE Ministry of Social Affairs that lists the active organisations in the country).

According to, an estimated 120 public welfare societies are registered and supervised in the UAE, with the majority of charitable societies focusing on social and humanitarian issues. Meanwhile, International Humanitarian City also hosts around 37 NGOs.

But did you know you can actually pursue a full-time position, as opposed to volunteering part-time?

“Charity work is a great way to stay involved in the workplace and continue to learn, grow and contribute while celebrating the values and upholding the causes one holds near and dear,” Suhail Masri, VP of sales, tells Explorer. “Some professionals take on charity work on the side of their regular jobs in the corporate world while others devote a sabbatical specifically to charity work. Others get involved in charity as a way to maintain a grip on the working world while on a maternity, mid-career or other extended break from regular jobs.”

While many can volunteer in highly reputed, energetic and successful charity organisations in the UAE, Masri continues, many can end up being paid for what they do.

He says: “Contrary to common belief, serving the community need not always be unpaid; in fact, NGOs and non-profit organisations look for top employees just like any other company and offer them salary and incentives packages. Working for this type of organisation allows one to serve the community all while being paid to do that.”

If you have difficulty in finding work in the sector you have experience in, however, you can still contribute by taking part in your employer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

“Employees from various fields can work and serve their community through their jobs and their company’s CSR initiatives,” Masri concludes citing a recent study. “The majority (59%) of companies in the MENA region engage in CSR activities; and the top CSR causes that professionals feel their organisation should be involved in are: providing job opportunities (35%), preserving the environment (30%), supporting orphans (28%), providing training (27%), medical support programmes (such as blood donation drives) (26%), and human rights support (25%).”

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15 Jul 2013 at 10:45

Will it be easy to get a job in an NGO in the UAE if i do a degree in international relations with a three-month internship? Thnks

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