5 May 2013

Ethiopia: The Making of Ethiopian "Spice Girls"

Photo: Addis Fortune
Ethiopian "Spice Girls"

The campaign that is being rolled out by YEGNA gives each of the five girls a specific character thought to represent a segment of Ethiopian society.

YEGNA, which translates to 'ours', is the new project funded by Nike Foundation and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID). Having been awarded a whopping 154 million Br as its four year project, the launch of the radio programme and all girls singing group has been in the forefront of media attention for the last few weeks. Though the music and the characters along with the radio show they are a part of have received the most attention, YEGNA is just a small part of the larger Girl Hub Project that is being implemented by the Foundation in developing countries.

The roll out of the project in Addis Abeba and the Amhara Region, which are serving as pilot projects involves the participation of three local partners, there is Emerge Leaders Consultancy & Training Plc, spearheaded by its CEO, Selome Tadesse, former government spokesperson and popular personality. Her company is joined by Mango Productions, a PR firm owned and managed by Aida Ashenafi, director of Guzo, the first-ever Ethiopian docu-drama. Finally, the trio is made whole by the participation of Deloitte, a financial consultancy firm.

Nike Foundation is also implementing this project in Rwanda and Nigeria focussing its attention on the empowerment of young women as a viable means of eradicating poverty.

"When the Nike Foundation started in 2004, we sought the best investment with the highest returns. We traced the symptoms of poverty back to their roots, and it led us to an unexpected solution and a catalyst for change: adolescent girls," says the Foundation's mission statement.

It was with this goal that YEGNA was established. The five girls that were chosen for the project were given characters that, after extensive research, were determined as being representative of the different segments of Ethiopian society. Complete with nicknames and booklets filled with research on their characters' personalities, the five young ladies have been put through rigorous physical, vocal and social training so as to put their best faces forward when representing the huge base that are adolescent girls. Ashenafe Endale, Special to Fortune, had the opportunity to be the first reporter to sit down with the girls where they shared their hopes, dreams and histories. You can read the full feature here...

[You can read the full Article in the feature Section]

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