Yegna, DfID Part Ways Under Pressure

A charity organization meant to help girls in Ethiopia has fallen victim to controversy in Britain about the effectiveness of foreign aid.

The Ethiopian charity, Yegna, became the poster child of misused foreign aid in the British press after the NGO’s effort to help combat abuse of girls by using music became misleadingly transformed into a case of the British Government pumping millions of pounds into an all-girls band dubbed the Ethiopian “Spice Girls.”

Sources have disclosed that the Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID), will no longer support Yegna group under pressure from British parliamentarians.

Yegna is an Ethiopian program designed to promote girls’ rights and self-esteem in Ethiopia.

“We have been advised that Yegna will part ways with one of our partners, the UK Department for International Development (DFID),” read a statement from Yegna Managing Director Selome Tadesse.

Yegna is part of the Girl Effect program, formerly known as the Girl Hub project, which works across Africa and Asia to promote girls’ empowerment.

The withdrawal of DfID from the program comes after the program was scrutinized in the British parliament amid doubts being raised about the program’s effectiveness and necessity. The proposed 16 million pound second phase of funding from DfID raised controversy amid British politicians and media.

“That is just one programme, one project and I think it’s fair to say I keep all programmes under review,” said Priti Patel, UK secretary of state for International Development Speaking to Parliament in December 2016.

“It is actually doing substantial work when it comes to combating [child marriage, violence, teen pregnancies],” she also remarked.

Her statements were made before the members of the parliament’s International Development Committee.

The first phase of funding to the program was made up of a 54 million pound injection into the global program, which is partially funded by the Nike Foundation, which is dedicated to areas like fitness and physical activity internationally.

Launched in 2012, the Yegna project comprises a radio show, television programming, clubs, and the eponymous band, which earned the title “The Ethiopian Spice Girls” in the international media. Even without the involvement of DfID, the program will still continue, Yegna sources. Girl Effect was launched in 2010.

According to the program’s management, the Yegna radio show reached nine million listeners every week. However, some say that the number is exaggerated. In 2015, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) issues warnings to the UK government to stop the Girl Effect Yegna project as it was not having the impact it was hoped it would.

However, the programs management are still positive about the program’s impact.

“In four short years we have seen how much Yegna has supported girls and is contributing to the rise of Ethiopia,” said the statement from the program. “Yegna will continue without interruption.”

“New ideas such as Yegna are often resisted, and sometimes wilfully misrepresented,” Selome said.


Published on Jan 10,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 871]



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