Ministers end funding for ‘Ethiopia’s Spice Girls’

yenga Laura Hughes, political correspondent
6 JANUARY 2017 • 6:20PM
Ministers have ended funding for an all-female pop group dubbed Ethiopia’s Spice Girls following a furious backlash from Conservative MPs.

Yegna, a five-strong pop group, was promised £5.2million of taxpayer’s money to develop a “branded media platform”.

Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has now moved to end the funding amid concerns that it is not value for money.

Priti Patel 

In a letter to Farah Ramzan Golant, the CEO of Girl Effect, Ms Patel writes: “As part of our drive for new and more strategic approaches to our programmes globally, I have taken the decision to end DFID’s partnership with Girl Effect.”

She added that the Government needed to “be mindful of whose money we are spending and show what taxpayers’ money is achieving to help the world’s poorest.”

The independent aid watchdog has previously questioned whether funding the Girl Effect provided value for money and suggested it should end.

Department for International Development
Department for International Development

Yegna is described as “inspiring positive behaviour change for girls in Ethiopia” and DFID has dedicated £5.2 million towards building their brand as part of a £16 million package given to Girl Effect.

Details of the funding were revealed in a contract uncovered  was awarded to an agency to manage the Yegna brand and media products up until August 2018.

Peter Bone, the Tory MP, told the Telegraph: “The decision by the secretary of state is a victory for commonsense and shows that she is determined to get our aid policy right.”

A DFID spokesman 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.”

Farah Ramzan Golant, CEO of Girl Effect, said: “We and our supporters across media, technology and business, believe in the power of innovative, unconventional and efficient solutions to combating poverty at scale. Yegna is a pioneering example of this. Now more than ever we are committed to leveraging this expertise to grow the impact of Yegna and all our programmes around the world.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. T.Goshu

    January 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I do not think it is unfair to say that given the existence of a highly meticulously and rampantly operated corruption, political cronyism being the engine of it in the coutry for the last quarter of a century, it is not surprising that those kids (girls) could be used for that purpose. There is no doubt that if there was an independent investigation, Yegna and most 0f NGOs of humanitarian and awareness creation especially those which are in good terms with TPLF/EPRDF are parts of the ongoing easy way of making money and getting rich. The history of gaining personal or organized enrichment even from the scratch at the expenses of the suffering of the people is not uncommon. unfortunately enough, our country which has never been free from consecutive severe droughts and famine, all kinds of diseases HIV being one of the devastating ones has continued to be good reasons of the emergence and multiplication of NGSs and the emergence and growth of ” MASTERS OF POVERY”. And this has become extremely ugly when it is joined by politicians in power who of course cannot survive without a society that is hit hard by the life style of self-degradation and confusion. What makes this very ugly history of ours much more heartbreaking is to witness religious institutions being one of the great players of this very disturbing business of self-aggrandizement at the expense of peoples’ destitution.
    Genuinely concerned Ethiopians, things are deep and monstrous than the news we hear and read about events such as YEGNA.

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