‘We’re all responsible’ slogan reflects unified Saudi efforts to defeat COVID-19

‘We’re all responsible’ slogan reflects unified Saudi efforts to defeat COVID-19
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A Saudi man takes part in a blood donation campaign organized by Al-Baha authorities to collect blood from donors from the safety of their homes amid COVID-19 pandemic. (SPA)
‘We’re all responsible’ slogan reflects unified Saudi efforts to defeat COVID-19
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A security guard checks the temperature of a man at a shopping mall after the Saudi government eased a curfew and allowed stores to open, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 2, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 11 May 2020

‘We’re all responsible’ slogan reflects unified Saudi efforts to defeat COVID-19

‘We’re all responsible’ slogan reflects unified Saudi efforts to defeat COVID-19
  • The slogan sends out a clear message: Everyone is responsible for contributing to the containment of the pandemic and the success of the government’s health plans for combatting it

RIYADH: Like other countries around the world, Saudi Arabia is fighting the coronavirus outbreak by using all means necessary to keep its citizens and residents secure.

Fighting this invisible enemy is not just the responsibility of the government. People also play a crucial role in this campaign by strictly following precautions to help the state succeed in its fight against the disease.

Such extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and a renewed sense of duty to counter all forms of threats physical or otherwise.

Authorities came up with the slogan “We are all responsible” to instill a sense of responsibility among all stakeholders and to increase awareness among people about the importance of their role in this fight.

Since its launch on March 21 it has been one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter and, in the past few weeks, has been tweeted over 500,000 times.

The slogan was launched at the behest of acting Media Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, according to Dr. Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, undersecretary of communication at the ministry.

Al-Qasabi wanted the slogan to act as a unified platform through which educational and awareness-raising messages about coronavirus could be sent to the public and private sectors.

“The design team brainstormed and discussed numerous ideas before deciding on the final version of the logo,” he told Arab News. “The colors were selected carefully. The green reflects the color of the Saudi flag. It also gives a sense of reassurance, equilibrium and comfort. The technical committee of the COVID-19 operations room at the ministry approved the new logo and launched it on March 21.”

The two lines on top of the logo are close to one another, but not touching each other in order to reflect people’s commitment to adhering to social distancing measures and to also show solidarity. The logo reflects the values upon which it was based. The design team faced a number of challenges such as tight deadlines and coming up with innovative ideas in a short time, he added.

Unified messages

The COVID-19 operations room was set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and over 35 other government authorities.

It is run by numerous teams to ensure unified media messages are sent out and that they raise public awareness, dispel rumors, refute false reports and facilitate the work of local and global media.

The staff includes young Saudi men and women from different government agencies who are supported by remote teams. The room works around the clock and sifts through messages to ensure high quality. It also helps organize the Ministry of Health’s daily press conference, coordination of spokesperson attendance, and the Ministry of Interior’s press conferences.

Dr. Hassan M. Somili, an assistant professor in marketing communications at Al-Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, said one of the important principles of effective crisis and risk communication was to get support from all members of society and this could be done through sending out unified verbal as well as nonverbal messages and slogans. This approach also helped in achieving the sought-after goals from such messages.

Government and nongovernment organizations should, as part of risk communication policies, enhance and support the efforts of the Ministry of Health, which acts as the defense line against the outbreak.

“It is great to have a national identity reflecting the efforts exerted to fight the pandemic,” Somili told Arab News. But he said that the current identity of the slogan did not take non-Saudi residents into consideration, the majority of whom did not speak Arabic and English. Recent reports showed that 80 percent of the people who contracted COVID-19 are not Saudi, he added.

“I believe if the messages of the slogan had focused on them, it would have raised awareness among (them) and spurred them on to contribute to the efforts exerted by society in fighting the pandemic,” he said.


Collective responsibility

Dr. Mufwad Alenazi, an assistant professor of public relations, said crises could be a turning point in the history of organizations and states, and required streamlined communication measures to manage them successfully.

A logo reflects the artistic design, while a slogan is an important element that is used by a campaign during a crisis. Both give the targeted audience a clear idea about the campaign and how to react to it.

“The crisis management committee has selected the perfect slogan ‘We’re all responsible’ for the campaign,” Alenzai told Arab News. “The words used in the slogan constitute an integral part of the Saudi culture, which is responsibility and commitment. The pronoun ‘We’re’ reflects collective responsibility of all members of the society. The words used in the slogan are simple to understand and react to and can be used printed as well as audiovisual media.”

Abdulhadi Al-Buraih, a sociology researcher, said the purpose of a slogan was to help individuals have the same sense of responsibility and work all together towards one goal.

“There is no doubt that a slogan can have a great impact on achieving unified group thinking, allowing all individuals within a community to feel that they are on the same boat and have to take collective decisions for the better interests of the whole group,” Al-Buraih told Arab News.

The slogan sends out a clear message: Everyone is responsible for contributing to the containment of the pandemic and the success of the government’s health plans for combatting it.

It might not bring rapid results at the beginning but, over time and with the help of promoting it through influential figures, it can be very effective and set deep into the public conscience.

 


King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries
Updated 20 April 2021

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

RIYADH: King Salman has authorized SR 1.9 billion to be paid to Saudis who receive social security benefits, Al Ekhbariya reported early Tuesday.
Ahmed Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the minister of human resources and social development, welcomed the king’s generous support to citizens during the holy month of Ramadan. 
The announcement came as Saudis prepare to fast for the eight day.


Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman recieved special envoy to UK’s PM for the Arabian Gulf, Edward Lister.
They reviewed the “strong cooperation between our two friendly countries, especially in the defense,” Prince Khalid tweeted early on Tuesday.
“We reemphasized the importance of our partnership in preserving regional stability&security,” he added.


Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has launched a new initiative to transport the elderly and people with disabilities using golf carts within the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus
  • 970 new cases reported amid crackdown on violators

RIYADH: Amid a rise in the daily tally of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Kingdom, authorities have expedited their efforts to ensure compliance with health precautions.

The Ministry of Health on Monday announced 970 new cases in the Kingdom with the Riyadh region on top with 438 infections.
The Makkah region followed with 227, the Eastern Province reported 131, and the Madinah region reported 37 new cases. The regions with the lowest number of cases are Najran (8), Al-Jouf (4), and Al-Baha (3).
The total number of cases in the Kingdom has gone up to 405,940 now. With 896 new recoveries, the number of people who recovered from the disease has risen to 389,598 since the beginning of the outbreak.
The ministry also reported 11 new deaths due to COVID-19.
The number of active cases in the Kingdom currently stands at 9,508 with 1,087 of those cases in critical condition. According to Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammad Al-Abd Al-Aly, over half of those cases are people above the age of 60.
The Kingdom is vaccinating its population against COVID-19 at a rate of approximately 1.44/second, or 124,661 each day. Currently, over 7 million vaccines have been administered, with the number standing at 7,280,904.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The number of active cases in the Kingdom currently stands at 9,50 8.

• The ministry also reported 11 new deaths due to COVID-19.

• The Riyadh region reported the highest number of cases on Monday.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs on Monday said that in the last 11 weeks, its special teams carried out more than 230,000 inspection tours to various mosques in the Kingdom to ensure that safety measures are followed.
It said a total of 143 violations were detected and necessary actions were taken to address the issue and penalize the violators.
Taif municipality also reportedly carried out over 2,600 inspection tours of commercial establishments during Ramadan. The municipality’s field teams targeted locations projected to see high activity during Ramadan, such as restaurants, bakeries, buffets, and Arabic sweets shops.
Meanwhile, field teams in Jeddah also cracked down on violators, closing 36 locations for failing to adhere to anti-COVID guidelines. Jeddah municipality announced that its teams had carried out 4,049 field trips in 19 sub-municipalities and 15 governorate municipalities. Similarly, in Tabuk, 58 commercial establishments were closed for not implementing anti-virus measures.


Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences
The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields. (SPA)
Updated 20 April 2021

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences
  • The FWS is working on building its own financial model to achieve financial sustainability that relies on inventing knowledge-based products generating a capital for investment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Future Women Society (FWS) has launched a research, innovation and development unit to further empower women in various scientific disciplines.
Despite female advances in business, technology and the arts, the role of women in science still remains low. Many educational institutions, societies and organizations in the Kingdom are pushing for greater female inclusion in STEM, as one of Vision 2030’s strategic and fundamental goals.
Dr. Gareebah Al-Twaiher, chairperson of the FWS, stressed the importance of raising awareness of the key role women play in research and the need to help them continue to progress.
“It is an established fact around the world that scientific research is (a) long-term investment and the cornerstone of developing any economy that is built on innovation,” she said.
“It is the basis of creating new sciences and achieving sustainable economic growth, as well as enhancing international competition and creating new industries.

FASTFACTS

• The FWS was founded in October 2020 under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

• The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields.

“We have focused on the optimal investment of knowledge, human and financial resources to achieve a holistic and sustainable economic value and growth. The FWS is working on building its own financial model to achieve financial sustainability that relies on inventing knowledge-based products generating a capital for investment.”
Scientific research in Saudi Arabia has taken great strides over the past few years, and helped the Kingdom move to the forefront in many areas regionally and globally, she pointed out.
The FWS was founded in October 2020 under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields.


Exploring the traditional flavors of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Exploring the traditional flavors of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia
Ramadan is not only a month of prayers, as Muslims make special arrangements to celebrate the holy month by preparing special foods and decorating their surroundings. (Shutterstock/SPA)
Updated 20 April 2021

Exploring the traditional flavors of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Exploring the traditional flavors of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia
  • Decorations are also becoming an integral part of preparations for the holy month in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Ramadan is a special time for Muslims to get together with family and loved ones. These gatherings in Saudi culture result in a diverse menu of delicious dishes, with many being made exclusively during the holy month.

Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to sunset. Therefore, among all the aspects of local culture, food-related traditions are the most significant, distinguished and diverse. However, there are also shared meals and components of the Saudi iftar table featured in the holy month across the Kingdom.
Dates are an essential dish that Muslims use to break their fasts, following in the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For Saudis, an assortment of dates is normally consumed, along with Arabic coffee, soup, and fried or baked stuffed pastry (samboosa and other dishes). For sugar-hungry people, the soft drink Vimto is often the go-to liquid to quench thirst.
To top it off, Arabian deserts most commonly found on Saudi tables include kunafa (a sugar-soaked pastry stuffed with cheese or cream) and logaimat (small round balls of fried dough covered in sweet syrup), while qatayef, pancakes filled with cream or nuts, are the cherry on top.
Despite these common foods, each region in the Kingdom favors specific dishes. In the central region, hanini is what many Najdis place on their tables when breaking their fasts. The porridge-like dish is made of dates, wheat flour, ghee and sugar. You will also find jarish, another famous savory dish made from ground wheat, lamb stew and vegetables, with a side of whole-wheat mini pancake-like discs known as matazeez and margoog.
In the western region of the Kingdom, there is the signature dish of foul and tamees, which is a combination of fava bean stew and tamees bread, a soft, tender creation baked in traditional open ovens believed to have originated in Afghanistan. The region’s signature drink is sobia, a thirst-quenching Ramadan brew made from wheat and malt flours.
In the Eastern Province, you will most likely break your fast with a meat and vegetable stew known as saloona. It is served with a side of balaleet, made either sweet or savory from flavored vermicelli noodles and topped with a layer of eggs. The province’s desert of choice is sago, which is made from a form of starch taken from the pith of the sago palm.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Dates are an essential dish that Muslims use to break their fasts.

• Arabian deserts most commonly found on Saudi tables include kunafa and logaimat, while qatayef, pancakes filled with cream or nuts, are the cherry on top.

• Despite these common foods, each region in the Kingdom favors specific dishes.

Though it might seem that food is the focus of Ramadan, many special traditions significant to the holy month are also celebrated across the Kingdom.
“Although we have a very diverse cuisine, I think the components of our Ramadan table are similar, as most popular dishes in this month are rich in carbs, protein, and fat, but they’re also easy to eat with little effort,” traditional food enthusiast Lujain Ahmad told Arab News.
She added: “Our Ramadan table also welcomes new dishes and drinks every year thanks to the influence of social media, which always brings us trends with new meals and dessert recipes, as well as presentation ideas”
Ramadan fashion and decorations are also another way to celebrate the holy month, and are becoming an integral part of preparations for families in Saudi Arabia.
Popular Ramadan lanterns and accessories painted with colorful traditional red-themed patterns also provide an oriental theme to celebrations in the Kingdom.
Ramadan attire is traditionally modest. It is a month in which many women opt for long dresses, such as the jallabiya, which has evolved in recent years through designs inspired by patterns from across the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Old and new traditions are beautiful, and give a special taste to the holy month.

Manal Saleh

The growing popularity of these dresses has created a lucrative market for local fashion designers, markets and social media platforms.
“Although I’m not that old, I can say for sure that these are newly adopted Ramadan traditions, which were not as popular 10 years ago,” Manal Saleh from Jeddah told Arab News.
She added that social media has had a major influence on people’s behaviors and Saudi culture, even in relation to religious events and practices. “New practices adopted through social media trends are increasingly becoming more important and even powerful enough to replace inherited traditions.”
However, she said that both old and new traditions are “beautiful, and give a special taste to the holy month.”
Modern life means that regional differences are in decline, while people increasingly live similar lives and become more interested in following trends and imitating one another.
“We are acting alike, and we like it. There is no problem with that. It gives a beautiful sense of unity on the national and regional level,” Lama Sharif told Arab News.
This year’s Ramadan will not include many popular traditions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Saudi mosques used to hold daily iftar gatherings for expat workers and the poor, usually paid for by local residents or wealthy donors. The same used to happen at the Two Holy Mosques. But this tradition stopped in 2020 and has not returned this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
Other charitable activities have also been halted. Some Saudis used to prepare small iftar meals and cold water for free distribution around sunset, when people stop at traffic lights and may miss out on breaking their fast on time. These activities were carried out by young men and women, families, or volunteering groups on the main roads of the Kingdom’s cities, but have since stopped.
Saudi families also used to exchange and share dishes with neighbors, a well-known practice across Saudi Arabia. No dishes ever returned empty, but the pandemic has halted this tradition, too.
“As young kids, we used to prepare iftar meals as a family and distribute them among pilgrims in the mosque yards. That was a beautiful experience I’ll always cherish,” said Sharif.
“The pandemic has deprived us of many beautiful social traditions, not to mention prayers and warm gatherings at mosques. I’m glad we are having a real Ramadan this year, but we miss so many things, and I’m afraid they may never come back,” she added.