Govt bodies, NGOs team up to address problems of the poor in Saudi Arabia


Speaking to Arab News, Abdussalam said the Urban Observatory, which comes under the Jeddah governorate, would conduct a detailed study in accordance with international standards on Jeddah’s urban indicators; the study will be carried out with the support of the United Nations. He said the survey would focus on women in Jeddah’s impoverished districts.

Some 60 trained female graduates of King Abdul Aziz University and Dar Al-Hekma College will take part in the survey. “Female surveyors are participating for the first time in the social service program that targets some 20,000 families,” he pointed out.

“This survey is aimed at learning the conditions of all Jeddah’s population,” Abdussalam told Arab News. “We’ll later conduct a comparative study of Jeddah and other cities at national and international levels in order to make plans on how to improve the overall condition of the people,” he added.

The Urban Observatory has set out 80 indicators to assess people’s living conditions. “Once we get the indicators, we can come up with solutions in the light of thorough planning,” he added.

He said Prince Miteb, minister of municipal and rural affairs, has approved the survey. “The study will also include the city’s environment in order to find out the major pollutants and make proposals on how to protect the environment. Mobile monitoring stations will be established to measure the rate of pollution,” he added.

Abdussalam disclosed the formation of a Women’s Council at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to take up steps to improve the condition of women in the city by removing obstacles facing their investment projects and businesses and creating more employment opportunities. The council will tackle issues related to women dealing with ministries and other government agencies.

Jeddah is the second city in the Kingdom to carry out an urban observatory survey. A similar survey in Madinah showed that 14.2 percent of families in the region lived below the poverty line. The survey also indicated that Madinah had one of the highest unemployment rates in the Kingdom with the number of unemployed men at 16.7 percent and women 26.8 percent. It also noted that 55.9 percent of people in the region live in rented buildings while 42.4 percent live in houses which they own.

Madinah’s population grew at the rate of 3.38 percent last year, which is higher than the nationwide average of 2.4 percent. Per capita water consumption in the region is 311 liters daily compared to the national average of 230 liters.

Madinah’s crime record is good compared to other Saudi cities. The crime rate in the region has dropped to 1.8 percent against the national average of 3.6 percent.

In divorce cases, Madinah still holds a leading position with 31.26 percent.

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