The British government announced £5.2 million in new funding to Yegna, an all female music band in Ethiopia also known as “Ethiopia’s Spice girls.”
Seemingly the band received £4 million in funding in 2013.
The purpose of the new funding is to enable the group develop “a branded media platform”
According to The Daily Mail, British newspaper, the new contract with Yegna ( “Spice Girls”) was officially published on British government website under DFID contracts. The fund is from the British tax payers coffer.
In the year 2015, British commitment to foreign aid was estimated to be 0.7 percent of gross national income ( £12.2 billion) of which Africa received about £2.54 billion. Ethiopia is the leading British aid recipient. Last year alone, it received about £334 million in British aid.
The project is intended to “empower” women in African countries though entertainment and music. The focus group is likely to be the Ethiopian and African youth. True that violence against women is an issue. However, whether a project like these is truly empowering to African women or not is missing from conversation, not to mention discussion on its cultural impacts.
A report by The Daily Mail indicates that there was critic from Ethiopia that the funding in 2013 was adequate enough to manage the band for a very long time. The addition of new funding is likely to raise skepticism as to what the British government is trying to achieve with the project. In Britain, tax payers complain that the funding should have been allocated to fund services in Britain. Homelessness and poverty are still issues in the Britain, one of the major economies in the world.
In addition to new funding to Yegna, British government recently announced commencement of Amharic, Oromiffa and Tigirigna services in its BBC Africa program expansion.
A few years ago, Yenga group released a song that became a hit in Ethiopia.