Tuesday January 10, 2017 (Addis Ababa) -Yegna is Ethiopia’s first teen brand and is, first and foremost, Ethiopian. It is rooted in Ethiopian culture, developed and delivered by and for Ethiopians. Yegna is provoking conversations about the positive role girls can play in Ethiopian society, challenging how girls are thought of and how they think about themselves.
Yegna is much more than a music band. Yegna’s radio shows have reached overeightmillion listeners, and the TV movie put theirmessages in front of millions more Ethiopians, across the country. Additionally Yegna’s clubs and Safe Space programs expand the dialogue about girls in their communities and schools. Yegna’s storylines are developed with girls, their families and in communities across Ethiopia to ensure that our content is accurately reflecting the stories, voices and realities of Ethiopian girls.
Yegna is helping to change the lives of Ethiopian girls: 76% of girls who listen to Yegna say that it has inspired them to continue their education, and 95% of boy listeners say that they would speak out against a girl being forced to marry.
“As was announced last Friday, Yegna is parting ways with one of our partners, the UK Department for International Development (DFID). DFID was our pivotal partner in launching the success of Yegna in Ethiopia,” explains Yegna’s managing director SelomeTadessa. “We’ve been working with DFID for four years and have benefitted from their research, monitoring and support.
Now we are evolving our work to become more sustainable on our own.” This decision by DFID in no way reflects the successes and impact of Yegna here in Ethiopia - over the past three years, Yegna has received an A rating in DFID Annual Reports. Yegna’s team in Ethiopia will continue to pioneer Yegna’s new and complementary approach to traditional development. We have seen how much Yegna is supporting girls and is contributing to the rise of Ethiopia. However, new, pioneering ideas such as Yegna are often resisted, and sometimes willfully misrepresented. Yegna has seen a lot of success over the past four years.
Irreversible change has begun within Ethiopian society, but there is much more to be done, and Yegna will continue without interruption. Yegna will continue to operate and impact the lives of girls across Ethiopia with funding from like-minded local and international partners who believe in our innovative approach. Yegna has big plans going forward into 2017 including to take Yegna national so that it will reach even more adolescent girls, their peers and families across Ethiopia.
“I have always believed that Yegna is an Ethiopian phenomenon, which belongs to the people of Ethiopia,” comments SelomeTadessa. “I am confident that the people and the Government of Ethiopia will remainsupportive of Yegna as it continues to grow.”