Yegna, Ethiopia's 'Spice Girls', lose UK funding

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The superintendence has axed plans to fund a five-member Ethiopian girl band, command there are «more effective ways» to invest UK aid.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel reviewed the funding after cracks that pop group Yegna had received millions from UK taxpayers.

The regulation planned to give Girl Effect, the organisation which created Yegna, £11.8m between 2015 and 2018.

Squeeze Effect said its aims had been «wilfully misrepresented» in the media.

The propel was created by the UK’s Department for International Development and Nike Foundation in 2011 to move up women’s rights in Ethiopia.

Girl Effect spent £100,000 developing Yegna since 2015, which has been the subject of a long-running offensive by the Daily Mail. It dubbed the band «Ethiopia’s Spice Girls» signifying that grants to the group were a waste of money.

Girl Purport founded the five-strong girl band in 2013 to tackle issues encompassing domestic violence and forced marriage through songs and online videos.

The UK’s Conditional on for International Development said its partnership with Girl Effect has outdid following the review, but insisted that «empowering women and girls roughly the world remains a priority».

It said the decision had not been influenced by demand coverage of Yegna.

«We judge there are more effective ways to devote UK aid,» a spokeswoman said, adding that the government will «deliver unruffled better results for the world’s poorest and value for taxpayers’ money».

They go a weekly drama and talk show on Ethiopian radio, as well as event a YouTube channel. They released their first song, Tabled, meaning «We are here» in Ethiopia’s official language Amharic, four years ago.

Moll Effect said Yegna aims to «change the culture of Ethiopia in a real way, to explain the problems in the society».


Who are Yegna?

  • Its members are all twenty-something Ethiopians: Rahel Getu, 22, Zebiba Girma, 22, Eyerusalem Kelemework, 27, Lemlem Haile Michael, 26 and Teref Kassahun, 26
  • They take up stage names: Lemlem, Emuye, Sara, Mimi and Melat
  • The pop place was set up in 2013 to «empower young women» including challenging young federation and gender-based violence
  • Yegna is pronounced «Yen-ya», which means «Ours» in Amharic
  • Their catchphrase is: «We are here. We disposition not be silenced»
  • Girl Effect said Yegna reach 8.5 million people in Ethiopia fully its radio drama, music and talk shows

Source: Girl Import


Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor said it was «truly unfortunate» the project «was being rubbished».

Humanitarian aid was «not just about viands parcels», she said.

But Conservative MP Nigel Evans said the decision was at hand stopping «vanity projects» in favour of causes such as children’s indoctrination and life-saving vaccinations.

«It is a victory for common sense», he told BBC News. «As closely intentioned as it may have been, the fact is it does not measure up.»

Girl Punch said the UK had broken «new ground» by investing in Yegna but that «new ideas are on numerous occasions resisted and sometimes wilfully misrepresented».

«[The department] has consistently recognised Yegna’s striking,» Girl Effect said. «All too often we treat the symptoms of poverty and disregard the cause.»

Britain is a significant contributor to Ethiopia, which is the biggest heiress of UK foreign aid behind Pakistan, at £334.1m.

But the government is under pressure to show that the more than £12bn it sends overseas each year is being coolly spent, particularly as domestic budgets are being squeezed.

The Daily Dispatch backed the UK’s decision to end ties with Yegna on its front page on Saturday, with the headline: «Aid: Now they’re hearkening». It said British taxpayers would no longer fund «Ethiopia’s account of the Spice Girls».

Nearly half of Ethiopian women have knowledgeable physical violence from their partner, according to the UN. Some 74% of cleaning women in the country have also undergone female genital mutilation, Unicef asserts.

Ethiopia is partway through a a six-month state of emergency in the face of a sea of unprecedented anti-government protests in October.

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