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Ethiopia’s Pop Girl Band to Continue Making Music Despite Losing Millions in British Funding


Yegna’s Managing Director Solome Tadesse said on Tuesday that the project would continue despite the UK Department for International Development (DFID)’s decision to cut its funding for the Ethiopian girl band.

DFID has been working with Yegna for the past four years and had a plan to give the group GBP 11.8 million between 2015 and 2018 through its partner Girl Effect. But DFID announced the end of its partnership with Yegna a few days ago.

Though DFID said the decision came after a review of the Yegna project and a belief that there were more effective ways to spend UK aid, Solome said the decision in no way reflected the success or impact of Yegna.

“Yegna has been on air for the past three-and-a-half years and DFID has done annual reviews by sending independent consultants. And Yegna scored a rating of A every year. This is also in DFID annual reports,” Solome told journalists.

According to Solome, the decision was purely political and followed Brexit. So it had to do with the changes in British internal politics after the country voted to leave the EU rather than with Yegna. The view that Britain’s aid for developing countries should be for emergency relief assistance purposes, and not for empowerment projects, is prevailing. This is a shift to right-wing politics.

Solome further explained that the measure by DFID would not put the existence of Yegna in jeopardy. Instead, the project would continue its work with renewed vigor.

DFID was a pivotal supporter of Yegna, Solome noted but stressed that there were also other Yegna partners. She said that Yegna’s partnership with others would not be affected by DFID’s decision. She added that there were other potential donors and partners with different approaches and interests.