By Nasser Al Mogaiseeb, Volunteer Strategy Manager, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
When the FIFA World Cup comes to the Middle East and Arab world for the first time in 2022, a crucial component to making this mega-event a success will be the role of our many volunteers.
Since our launch in September 2018, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) Volunteer Programme has generated tremendous interest, with more than 371,000 people having registered to be part of the initiative. In that time, volunteers have engaged in a range of projects, including stadium launches and major football matches.
As we focus on recruiting and deploying 20,000 volunteers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, our programme is expected to be the largest activation and engagement of volunteers in Qatar’s history. Such targets will have their challenges, but our journey to this stage has provided great encouragement in how Qatar’s diverse communities have shown their commitment to engage and participate in our many football and non-football events. It is helping to shape volunteer culture in Qatar and positioning the country on a global volunteering scale.
Our programme’s strategy is built around two main goals. The first is a short-term goal: to serve the FIFA World Cup 2022 with volunteers that come from different nationalities and different cultures to support this huge event. The second is a long-term goal: to help build and empower a database of volunteers that can support in the delivery of national events for next year’s tournament, and beyond.
When I encourage people to volunteer, I point to the different types of benefits that volunteering provides. There is the fulfilment of helping the community around you, as well as the personal development of learning new skills and knowledge you may not learn in your job or at any normal event. One of the common things we hear from our volunteers is the positive experience they get when working alongside people from other cultures and nationalities. This has led to new friendships being created and a better understanding of other cultures and communities.
So far this year, volunteers have played a key role in helping Qatar stage two important football competitions. In February, a dedicated team of 1,500 volunteers supported the FIFA Club World Cup 2020, while in June, 600 volunteers contributed to the successful staging of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 qualifiers. These events helped our volunteers gain valuable tournament experience, as we look ahead to recruiting and deploying 5,000 volunteers for the FIFA Arab Cup in November and December.
While many of the endeavours we support are football-related, our database of volunteers has proven a valuable resource to supporting other initiatives like humanitarian causes through our partnerships with charities here in Qatar. During Ramadan, SC volunteers helped distribute basic Iftar meals as part of Qatar Charity’s Jawal Iftar Programme, while 100 of our volunteers stepped up to support the Ministry of Public Health’s ‘For the Sake of Qatar’ campaign by assisting the country’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out at Qatar National Convention Centre.
Much has been learned since the programme came into being nearly three years ago, and as we prepare for the exciting events to come, maintaining continuous two-way communication between our team and our volunteers will be essential. From setting expectations on volunteer roles and providing the necessary training to assessing volunteers’ feedback, our communications structure is an important element in improving our planning and operations for a better volunteer experience.
As football’s showpiece event draws ever nearer, our mission to create a human network that empowers everyone to ‘Deliver Amazing’ continues.
The journey has only just begun…