QFSW, Harvard University sign MoU on developing Al Shafallah Center

Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW) and Harvard University, represented by the Francois Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development (DICDD).

The MoU aims to increase co-operation between the two organisations and help them to achieve their common objectives through a sustainable, field-tested framework, providing a rights-based approach to intellectual disability services. The agreement also aims to strengthen the capacity of regional and national stakeholders through a sustained, rights-based programme of care and treatment for children and young people with intellectual and mental health disabilities. 

As part of the programme, a model will be established to evaluate the existing approach to care for children and young people with intellectual and mental health disabilities. The model aims to improve the human rights and well-being of people with disabilities, paying special attention to the family support network and outreach and community services.

The project will lead to the development of: a rights-based best-practice approach to the care, treatment and diagnosis of children and young people with intellectual and mental health disabilities; a sophisticated understanding of factors that are specific to the Mena region; and a sustainable model of care that can serve as a “centre of excellence” to transform working practices and make a positive impact throughout the region.

Qatar Foundation for Social Work CEO Amal Abdullatif al-Mannai highlighted the importance of the agreement, saying: “The agreement with Harvard University underscores Qatar civil society organisations commitment to improving the lives of people affected by intellectual and mental health disabilities, including support networks. This agreement provides the framework to develop new and innovative approaches, leading to advances that will transform the level of care and treatment in Qatar and throughout the region.”

Founded in 1999 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Al Shafallah Center provides first-class educational and rehabilitation services for people under the age of 21 with mental disabilities and autism.

Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrolment of over 20,000-degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world.

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