British taxpayers’ money will no longer fund Ethiopian girl band project

News & Star
January 6, 2017

British taxpayers’ money will no longer be used to fund the project behind an Ethiopian girl band, the Department for International Development (DfID) said.




The five-piece pop group Yegna was formed as part of the Girl Effect programme and officials had previously praised the impact the project was having.

File photo dated 02/10/16 of International Development Secretary Priti Patel, as the Government insisted that overseas aid provided good value for money after it was reported that an Ethiopian girl band is getting £5.2 million in funds to develop a media platform./ News &Star
File photo dated 02/10/16 of International Development Secretary Priti Patel, as the Government insisted that overseas aid provided good value for money after it was reported that an Ethiopian girl band is getting £5.2 million in funds to develop a media platform./ News &Star

But International Development Secretary Priti Patel was challenged about a reported £5.2 million grant to Yegna when she appeared before MPs in December and indicated that the programme was under review.

DfID has now confirmed that the partnership with Girl Effect had ended.

A DfID spokeswoman said: “We have taken the decision to end our partnership with Girl Effect following a review of the programme.

“Empowering women and girls around the world remains a priority, but we judge there are more effective ways to invest UK aid and to deliver even better results for the world’s poorest and value for taxpayers’ money.”

Yegna is billed as a “multi-platform culture brand inspiring positive behaviour change for girls in Ethiopia”.

Girl Effect said in 2015, 3.3 million people in Ethiopia listened to or watched a Yegna drama, talk show or film and the project had involved huge concerts, film screenings, thousands of listening groups and resulted in number one hits.

A statement on the Girl Effect website said: “As the UK’s Department of International Development today advised us of the conclusion of its work with Girl Effect, we would like to highlight the impact of Yegna on millions of people in Ethiopia and the new knowledge we have gained through our work together.”

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