Meet Alemtsehay and Medeset. Two incredible Ethiopian girls whose lives have been changed by Girl Effect’s youth brand Yegna.
These two films demonstrate the powerful impact the brand is having on girls, their families and their communities.
‘A girl can change Ethiopia’
This is the story of Alemtsehay, an incredibly resilient girl who despite immense adversity, finds inspiration in Yegna.
‘Part of Ethiopian culture’
Meet Medeset, an inspirational girl who introduces her family to Yegna, and sees the dramatic effect it has on the boys in her household.
Bemnet Yemesgen, Girl Effect’s brand director for Ethiopia, explains how and why communities are embracing Yegna’s positive and uplifting messaging:
These new films show two examples of girls whose lives have been transformed by Yegna.
But while these girls are extraordinary, their stories are typical of the experiences of a lot of Ethiopian girls whose lives have been touched by Yegna. We didn’t have to search far and wide to find them.
Our latest figures show that nearly 9m people are aware of the brand, and we believe that this number will continue to grow. In rural Amhara Yegna’s reach has more than doubled in just two years.
The figures also show that 65 per cent of girls who are aware of Yegna say it’s helped them become more confident, and 45 per cent say it has inspired them to take action on harassment.
Here on the ground we see the positive impact of Yegna every time girls, their families and their communities share their stories with us. This happens when teachers reach out to us, parents call in to the radio show or girls approach the Yegna girls at performances to tell them how they have impacted their lives.
In many communities respected figures such as teachers are becoming advocates for Yegna on their own initiative.
“Teaching a girl is teaching a whole family. If one girl is educated it is possible to change a community.”
For example in one of these new films an orphaned teenager, Alemtsehay, is introduced to Yegna by her teacher, who began recording the radio drama on a cassette tape and playing it to her students.
This teacher then reached out to us and so we provided her with all the radio dramas on a flash drive. She shared these with her class and encouraged them to role-play the storylines.
The more we hear stories like this about how people are advocating for Yegna within their communities, the more we want to empower them to do so.
Our content resonates with young people and with their teachers and families, because we work very hard to be purposefully entertaining, not preachy.
“Since listening to Yegna I have started encouraging my sisters to study and I have tried to ease their workload. I try to do some of their chores so they don’t have to.”
Yeshambel (brother of Medeset)
Yegna is also very inclusive of boys. People are often shocked when they realise boys and girls in Ethiopia don’t spend much time interacting with one another once they’ve reached adolescence.
Through Yegna we continue to challenge some male stereotypes and we use the boys’ characters to effectively role model the role of boys in girls’ lives.
There’s nothing else like Yegna in Ethiopia! Our content is a combination of education and entertainment and it’s authentically Ethiopian. As Medeset says, Yegna is part of Ethiopian culture.