Malala Yousafzai visits Girl Effect’s multi-platform youth brand, Yegna, to discuss girls’ education and the role Yegna has to play in delivering change with girls in Ethiopia.

22 year old advocate for girls’ education, UN Messenger of Peace, and Malala Fund co-founder, Malala Yousafzai visited Girl Effect in Addis Ababa on 10 July 2019. The delegation included her father – peace, women’s rights and education activist, Ziauddin Yousafzai, human rights activist Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, and senior executives from Malala Fund.

The group were introduced to how Yegna encourages positive behaviour change with girls in Ethiopia by tackling real-life challenges through stories, music, and mini-media clubs in schools. The visit included a behind the scenes tour of the set of the Yegna TV drama at Kana Studios, and a discussion with girls from Yegna’s mini-media club schools programme, and the Yegna cast, on the importance of education for all.

During the discussion Malala shared her own personal story advocating for girls’ education. Malala took questions and responded while listening to the girls’ own stories and experiences of education in Ethiopia. The girls highlighted some of the challenges they face on a daily basis, from the expectation to complete household chores to the challenges related to periods that can prevent girls from fully participating at school. The group also heard from Ziauddin Yousafzai about his own experience of school and how his own father empowered him to overcome his stutter and fear of public speaking at school, changing his perceived weakness into power.

“I am excited to meet Blen [who plays Lomi in Yegna – a character having difficulty focusing on school work because of chores at home]. Her story not only reflects the challenges we face as girls but also shows us solutions and ways to overcome these difficulties.”Kalkidan, 18, Yegna mini media club facilitator

The delegation saw first hand what Yegna means to girls – not only bringing to life the realities Ethiopian girls face, but giving them the skills they need to tackle those challenges. They also saw how a largely female team of directors and writers can create content that is inspiring behaviour change with girls, boys, their families and communities, by encouraging them to rethink what it means to be a girl in Ethiopia today.

“You should be very proud of what you’re doing. I can see the spark in the girls’ eyes when talking about Yegna”Ziauddin Yousafzai