Yegna (Amharic: የኛ) is an Ethiopian acting and five-piece girl group, originating in Addis Ababa. The group debuted in late 2013 due to their singles “Abet” and “Taitu“, which deal about supremacy of women in Ethiopia.
The 5-member group was formed in April 2013 as part of the internationally funded Girl Hub scheme, which also operates in Nigeriaand Rwanda. The group members are Teref Kassahun (nicknamed Melat) Lemlem Haile Michael (Mimi), Zebiba Girma (Emuye), Eyerusalem Kelemework (Sara) and Rahel Getu (Lemlem). Each member of the group has a different stage persona and nickname. Melat’s character is that of the city girly princess, Mimi’s that of the tough swaggering streetwise girl, Emuye is the vivacious music-lover, Sara the quiet studious one and Lemlem the steady maternal type.
They produce videos and perform on Ethiopian radio in a weekly drama and talk show for young women, addressing issues such as forced marriage, isolation and teen pregnancies, broadcasting on Sheger FM in Addis Ababa to a population of some 20 million. Their first live performance was at the Ethiopian National Theatre in May 2013. The group claim statistically significant change in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours though their work.
After the success of their debut video Abet in 2013 they released a second video,Taitu, later in the year, in collaboration with singer Aster Aweke. Taitu was an Ethiopian queen consort in the early 20th century.
In January 2017, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel announced that following a review of the band’s £5.2 million Department for International Development (DFID) funding there would be no further financial support given by the UK taxpayer. DFID affirmed their commitment to empowering women and girls but cited concerns about the effectiveness and value for money of the aid. In response, the managing organisation Girl Effect pointed to the impact of Yegna on millions of people in Ethiopia; illustrating this by quoting a girl in Amhara as saying: “Everything that Yegna stands for – peace, support, friendship – has changed my outlook on life and made me feel proud to be a girl.”
- Abet (English: We are here) ft Haile Roots (2013)
- Taitu ft Aster Aweke (2013)
- “Loud & clear: Radio show gives Ethiopian girls a new voice”. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- “Taitu- Yegna featuring Aster aweke”. YouTube. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- “Ethiopian girl band Yegna’s funding axed by UK”. BBC News. 7 January 2017.
- “Update on DFID’s partnership with Girl Effect – News stories – GOV.UK”.
- “A statement from Girl Effect about Yegna and our work with DFID”.
- The Spice Girls of Ethiopia
- Yegna Ethiopian girl band Metermea Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- The making of Girl Hub Ethiopia’s Yegna