As part of its strategy to support, develop and accelerate the adoption of structured mentoring programs in the Middle East, REACH, the first non-profit organization dedicated to professional women mentoring and leadership in the region, hosted the first mapping workshop for mentoring organizations in the UAE.
Moderated by Clare Woodcraft, CEO of Emirates Foundation and attended by eight recognized organizations with active mentoring programs for a range of demographic target groups, the workshop focused on mapping the current mentoring landscape in the UAE, in particular for women. The session highlighted areas of both synergy and duplication within the programs offered by each organization, and identified opportunities for future collaboration and collaborative development.
“While the Middle East has been reported as having one of the lowest global participation rates of women in the workforce, the situation is beginning to improve as both governments and organizations begin to acknowledge the importance of engaging the 50 percent of the population that is the potential female labor force,” said Clare Woodcraft. “Mentoring is a powerful way to fuel these positive trends by growing and developing professional competences and success in the workplace, and was confirmed by the organizations participating in this valuable mapping workshop.”
In addition to REACH and the Emirates Foundation, other participating organizations included: SEED, Sharjah Tatweer, Mara Mentor, Khayarat, E7 Banat Al Emarat and the Mowgli Mentoring Foundation.
With track records that range from eight years to less than one year in operation, all organizations were unanimous in the core challenges being faced. These include gaining mentee commitment to their respective programs, sourcing and retaining mentors, developing an accurate means of measurement for program efficacy, securing funding, and being able to successfully scale their respective organizations.
Opportunities and potential actions to address the challenges were also discussed, with final outcomes including the possible formation of an industry alliance that would enable establishment of a code of ethics, increased recognition for and consolidation of mentors through the creation of a mentor alumni, knowledge exchange, and the hosting of common networking events.
Jumana Abu Hannoud, co-founder of REACH said: “While our medium-term strategy for REACH has already been agreed, we believed that a market diagnostic would offer mutually beneficial insight for what is a nascent development tool for professionals in our region. In whatever field, the collaboration of like-minded individuals or organizations generally results in a stronger, more effective and hopefully sustainable platform.
“The outcomes from this inaugural meeting have been positive and, we believe, actionable too. This is the first building block in a foundation that we hope will support the development of a credible, proactive and results-driven alliance for mentorship in our region.”