* Interview with Sheikha Matar Dabet al-Dawsari, Shura Council election candidate for Al-Nasrania and Lakhrib district
Sheikha Matar Dabet al-Dawsari, who is contesting the Shura Council election from the Al-Nasrania and Lakhrib electoral district with a view to serving Qatar and its citizens, said that her role model is Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser who supports compulsory education.
"I am proud to be her 'daughter' because she is the Queen of Light through her style of leadership of the various reform projects in education, scientific research, development projects, and humanitarian work," she said.
In an interview with Gulf Times, Sheikha Matar said: "I intend to adopt the same orientations that Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser works for, especially in the social sector, and I am determined to solve community issues including housing, education and urban matters among others.”
Al-Dawsari said her campaign draws inspiration from what "our ancestors taught us - in order to get the pearl you must dive... to achieve the best we need to make a lot of effort. We will dive for justice for you and with your support we will be better equipped to achieve the best."
Al-Dawsari is running because she thinks that “it is imperative for every Qatari citizen to have an active participation in the Shura Council affairs within the framework of our rational state and Qatar. I committed myself to run for the Shura Council election in the hope to be an effective member, if I will be elected.”
She is promoting her campaign under the slogan: "Justice is the support of the Qatari family." In order to achieve this she said she has set up five axes for her electoral campaign which range from working for a government that serves citizens and enhances homeland security (a smart government), economic reforms to encourage investment, an educational system to help advance Qatar, to strengthen social security, and a better democracy and more freedom.
Al-Dawsari holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Qatar University, and she is currently studying for an MA in the same specialty. She has been working for the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for 20 years. She has participated in a wide range of workshops, conferences, as well as in voluntary work. She also has a long experience in education, administrative, humanitarian, and educational development fields. She is a professional trainer. She participates in voluntary activities, especially with charitable societies.
Al-Dawsari said that in order to "answer the aspirations of the citizens of my district I listened to them and took into consideration their concerns and set up my vision, mission and objectives accordingly".
“My vision is to raise the State of Qatar to the ranks of developed countries and to enhance its great role in the local and international community.
"My mission consists of upgrading the mechanisms of popular participation in decision-making, to enlighten citizens and involve them in all the aspects of life, and work to provide them with the best services, by assessing and improving them in a scientific and practical way. To preserve the foundations of the contemporary democratic civil society and to provide social services and healthcare with professionalism and international standards for all the members of society.”
She has also aims to “work with transparency and impartiality in order to achieve the development of the country in all its aspects, whether they are human, social, economic, or environmental issues. To defend the Qatari community issues, like social security, and to protect the Qatari family, to address women’s issues, as well as the youth issues, the welfare of people with special needs and their rehabilitation and integration into society. I also intend to propose programmes to support the gifted youth.”
Al-Dawsari’s election campaign revolves around the following axes which she willingly elucidates:
Concerning public services and the safeguard of the country, she says: “We need a smart E-government to strengthen the role and powers of the Audit Bureau in monitoring the executive authority and public expenditures, as it is the most important partner to assist the legislative authority in its supervisory role. I will propose to establish a governmental body to control the performance of the government bodies, and to set material and moral incentives for excellence in public services. To establish professional rules and ethics for jobs that require confidentiality and honesty, such as doctors, lawyers and family counsellors, in line with international standards. There is also a need to introduce a disclosure law, in order to address conflicts of interest in order to enhance transparency and governance among civil services employees.”
Al-Dawsari is also in favour of encouraging the economy by proposing “an economic reform to encourage investment, to inspire Qatari youth to work in the private sector by developing their competencies in order to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030. We need to promote professional associations for a better and fruitful cooperation between them and government institutions.”
She intends to address and “combat high prices of consumer goods and construction materials by liberalising competition and banning monopoly, by enacting laws to control prices in order to lower them".
"I also propose to combat all forms of corruption that might hinder economic projects and local and international investors.”
Among al-Dawsari’s interests is education which she sees as “an educational system to advance the State of Qatar. I have a long experience in this sector and I will recommend the adoption of a law to integrate the holidays between public schools, universities and private schools, in order to ensure Qatari family reunion. To develop university education in line with the emerging requirements of society, such as a college of agriculture, technical college, to take into account the individual differences between students when joining university education. To support those who study for an MA or a PhD through distance learning at universities accredited by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and establish standards to officially recognise their degrees. To promote university education and create more institutions in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030, and for more qualified human resources. Last but not least, is the teaching and practice of sports throughout the academic stages to encourage students to practice sports and excel in them. We should not forget to include and provide education to the physically challenged students at Qatar University, with all the relevant facilities and services on the basis of compulsory education, which is a fundamental right for all citizens.”
Talking about social security al-Dawsari said that she intends to address the persistent imbalances in the demographic structure, housing for needy citizens, care for widows, orphans, divorced women, people with disabilities and the elderly, by giving them priority while assessing their needs. To lay foundations to ensure that women can assume leadership positions in all sectors, by proposing a “quota” system or allocating quotas for women and involving them in leadership positions.
"This will provide all citizens the opportunity to participate, regardless of their social background. We should not also forget the adequate provision of government housing for women, widows and divorced women. Also take into consideration the working mother who has school-going children for a better family integration.”
Al-Dawsari intends to propose that “experienced retired people who are known for their efficiency, should train and help staff in various institutions. We should benefit from their professional expertise. We should also protect the rights of people with disabilities, grant them equal opportunities with the help of social security.”
Al-Dawsari went on to say that she proposes to promote health insurance for citizens, especially the elderly, pensioners and people with disabilities.
She concluded by saying that work at the Shura Council will be an opportunity for a better democracy and more freedom. "It will help to protect human rights through the state's commitment to implement all covenants related to it and help amend laws to comply with those covenants in a manner that does not contravene the provisions of the Constitution and Islamic Shariah.”