UGD Foundation

UGD Foundation: Exporting the Know-How: Understanding Decent Work for Women from the MENA

London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

UGD has created interactive career coaching and mentoring workshops for graduates and early career women from the MENA who live in the UK. The project will result in the in tangible solutions, social media videos and academic research to showcase a positive message for women in the labour market.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if more women were presented in the workforce and actively contributing to the GDP across the MENA?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is a high number of female graduates from the MENA however they are not actively contributing to the national workforce. There is a gap that needs to be addressed in the workforce. Female graduates and early career women from the MENA in the UK are not aware of work-life balance and diversity policies that will provide them with flexible options to enhance their career aspirations whether in the UK or the MENA markets.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Building on the themes of a 5 year PhD qualitative research on women and the workforce in the Middle East, there is a gap in addressing the career aspirations of female graduates as well as early career women. We propose interactive career coaching session across universities working on challenges identified by participants in the workforce enriched with social media interviews and videos across different platforms. We will also work with them on formulating social enterprise projects with a community outreach in their respective countries. We will identify projects that can generate revenues toward relevant communities.


The project has been covered by the Arab International Women's Forum newsletter November 2015 Issue-
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The project is divided into two phases: Phase - interactive career coaching and mentoring workshops for graduates and early career women from the MENA who live in the UK. Monthly sessions will take place across universities 15/20 participants/session. We offer unrivalled opportunities for participants to work with career coaching experts and career mentors from various business backgrounds in the UK as well as the MENA, as well as identifying personal skills and overcoming challenges that are identified by participants. Phase 2 is going to focus on social enterprise initiatives with a community outreach working with the career coach and mentors.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have had a session at the House of Lords as well as session at the University of Westminster. Both sessions were widely attended and have generated a wide network of mentors and potential sponsors. Graduate participants expressed interest in attending more sessions and underscored the importance of follow-up coaching offered by UGD's network of mentors. Phase one's aim is to gain engagement and build a following through the help of social media platform and active participants of female graduates. Between year 1-2, UGD will have gathered enough financial support to allocate seed money to potential social enterprise projects that have a solid business plans initiated by participants during career coaching sessions and guided by mentors.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

To establish sessions across universities in the UK as well as generating enough revenue to sustain seed money for new social enterprise initiatives. Educational content will be continuously updated engaging with government employment policies, decent work programme year 1: Market will be aware of UGD project and social enterprise initiatives year 2-3: Engaging with market and Generating more demand across universities in the UK/MENA year 5: social enterprise initiatives will be generating revenue to self sustain community goals across the UK/ MENA

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Based on customer profiles and enriched with social media content, we will perform monthly target market analysis . Then we will identify suitable channels to sustain production of educational content to attract content placement. In order to have maximum return on investment, branded graphics will sustain revenue line and attract more sponsors for UGD's portfolio.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are global mentoring and entrepreneurship foundations such as Mougli Foundation in the UK. The Arab International Women's forum works on connecting Arab business women through networking conferences. But the UGD project is tailored specifically to female students and early career women from the MENA present across the UK. We work closely with MENA student societies providing interactive workshops and a social mess platform based on challenges identified by participants themselves to better enhance their career aspirations including social enterprise initiatives.

Founding Story

Building on from my 5 year PhD research at the University of Cambridge, I wanted to contribute to female graduates and early career women from the MENA based in the UK and the Middle East. Although organisations and government policies are creating more opportunities for women to enter the workforce , every woman I interviewed highlighted similar issues. When I graduated, I realised that there was a gap in providing personal guidance and connecting with mentors across the UK. That's when I decided I should just create the program and have received positive feedback from universities and mentors from the UK and the MENA.


Dr Mona Hamade- Full time - PhD Multidisciplinary Gender Studies University of Cambridge Logistics Coordinator- Volunteer Ms Dafne Bobrowski Financial Controller- Part time Mr Nicholas Moore-Searson
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

a friend

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I am in process of building institutional partnerships with the University of Westminster, University of Cambridge, Arab International Women's Forum, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, DLA piper as well as Portland Communications who have expressed some form of support for UGD.. I have also build a network of mentors including the Director of the Abu Dhabi royal court, the first female Qatari professor at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, the Chairman of the Arab International Women's Forum in London, Diversity manager at BP as well as mentors from the creative industry from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. I am in process of building partnerships with