Britain scraps £5million foreign aid for Ethiopia's Spice Girls after Mail revealed 'blood boiling' waste of taxpayers' money

Yegna

The five-piece pop group Yegna, the Ethiopian Spice Girls.

• The five-piece pop group Yegna was formed as part of the Girl Effect programme
• Department for International Development has ended partnership with scheme
• Comes after Secretary Priti Patel was challenged about £5.2 million band grant

British taxpayers' money will no longer be used to fund the project behind an Ethiopian girl band.

The five-piece pop group Yegna was formed as part of the Girl Effect programme and officials had previously praised the impact the project was having.

But International Development Secretary Priti Patel was challenged about a reported £5.2 million grant to Yegna when she appeared before MPs in December.

The Department for International Development has now confirmed that the partnership with Girl Effect had ended.

A spokeswoman for the department said: 'We have taken the decision to end our partnership with Girl Effect following a review of the programme.

'Empowering women and girls around the world remains a priority, but we judge there are more effective ways to invest UK aid and to deliver even better results for the world's poorest and value for taxpayers' money.'

Priti Patel faced fury from MPs over the Mail's revelation that Yegna, a five-strong pop group, had been awarded a UK taxpayer-funded contract to develop its 'branded media platform'.

In a grilling with MPs on the International Development Committee Tory MP Nigel Evans told her: 'Your blood must have been boiling when you saw this.'

Ms Patel replied: 'That is just one programme, one project and I think it's fair to say I keep all programmes under review.'

She said she had spoken to the team in charge of the programme to 'make sure it's doing what it should be doing'.

The foreign aid cash - which would keep the band going until at least 2018 and also helped pay for a radio drama and music - came despite officials warning it may be a waste of money.

Yegna's aim is to empower young women in the African country through music.
But despite signalling that the funds going to the band were under review, Ms Patel defended Britain's aid spending in Ethiopia.

(Daily Mail)