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  • Who are Yegna dubbed the "Ethiopia's Spice Girls"?

    • 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 adopt stage names: Lemlem, Emuye, Sara, Mimi and Melat
    • The pop group was set up in 2013 to "empower young women" including challenging young marriage and gender-based violence
    • Yegna is pronounced "Yen-ya", which means "Ours" in Amharic
    • Their catchphrase is: "We are here. We will not be silenced"
    • Girl Effect said Yegna reach 8.5 million people in Ethiopia through its radio drama, music and talk shows

    Source: Girl Effect

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

    Yegna has been the subject of a long-running campaign by the Daily Mail. It dubbed the band "Ethiopia's Spice Girls" saying that grants to the group were a waste of money.

    The UK's Department for International Development said its partnership with Girl Effect has ended following the review, but insisted that "empowering women and girls around the world remains a priority".

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

    Read more here

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  • Britain ends millions in funding for Ethiopia girl band


    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- Britain says it has ended millions of dollars in funding for an Ethiopian girl band, amid growing criticism at home of overseas aid. Yegna, sometimes called "Ethiopia's Spice Girls," addresses women's issues in the East African country.

    A statement Friday from the Department for International Development says empowering women and girls remains a priority for Britain, "but we judge there are more effective ways to invest UK aid."

    The move comes after reports of the band receiving another $6.3 million. The five-member band uses a radio show and music and drama productions to create awareness about forced marriage, violence, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school.

    The Girl Effect project that launched Yegna confirms the British decision. Chief executive Farah Ramzan Golant says, "New ideas are often resisted and sometimes willfully misrepresented."

    Source: AP

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