ADEW's empowers FHHs by working in parallel on both the grassroots and advocacy levels: In order to effect the greatest change, ADEW provides basic services and program activities to women locally while simultaneously advocating change in public policy and wider public opinion.
1) On the grassroots level : ADEW's field programs developed through a micro-credit initiative, launched in the 1980s, which sought to provide FHHs with loans for small business development. However, when other crucial needs for financial and social stability became apparent, ADEW branched into new fields of assistance, including legal aid, literacy, and women's social empowerment. ADEW's programs were thus not imposed as the result of an internal organizational agenda, but were developed naturally to meet the unique needs of marginalized women in Egypt.
2) On the advocacy level : ADEW plays a critical advocacy role, influencing public policy as well as wider public opinion. Our advocacy strategy emerged out of our experience in the field, our knowledge of the socio-political condition in Egypt and our determination to speak on behalf of the marginalized women with whom we have worked for over 18 years. ADEW believes that as important as direct poverty alleviation and empowerment services are, they are insufficient interventions to create sustainable improvement in the lives of women on a national level in the long-term. Alongside the provision of direct services, ADEW plays a crucial role in influencing the broader socio-political environment in which women’s needs and their rights are compromised. ADEW has identified three inter-related issues, which must be taken into consideration when developing an appropriate and effective advocacy strategy in Egypt. These are: the nature of the discourse, multi-level gender bias and the sensitivity of the approach.