ADEW was founded in Egypt in 1987. Its mission is to empower marginalised female heads of households (FHH) economically, socially and politically. It combines grassroots programmes with advocacy, and promotes more gender-sensitive approaches to development and issues of public policy in Egypt and the MENA region.

ADEW's "Girls Dream" programme targets 1,200 of the most marginalised adolescent girls living in the squatter areas of Cairo, Manshiet Nasser and Misr El Kadima. It aims to raise the girls' awareness and knowledge of their own legal rights and duties in society. ADEW helps girls develop financial literacy skills as well as advance marketable employment or self-employment skills, according to their own interests and abilities. In addition, ADEW seeks to inform girls about reproductive health as well as promote functional literacy and numeracy.

ADEW has recently added sport activities (basketball, fitness) within their Girls Dream programme as a pilot with 100 girls. The organisation seeks to formulate a model for scale and replication.