Starting a national conversation about the challenges girls face, and working with them to create solutions

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Our primary work

The starting point for everything Girl Effect Ethiopia does is to understand what it means to be a girl in Ethiopia. Our research uses engaging and participatory approaches to better understand girls’ lives, aspirations and challenges.

We work with policy makers, donors and partners in the private sector, who can deliver large-scale programs and ensure girls are at the heart of the development agenda in Ethiopia.


Yegna (yen-ya) is Girl Effect Ethiopia’s flagship radio drama, talk show and music platform that champions girls and creates a national conversation about their potential. The radio drama and talk show address issues such as violence against girls, forced marriage, teenage pregnancy and school attendance. To do this, it uses female and male role models to shift attitudes and behaviours towards girls. The music drives listeners to the radio drama and talk show. Every song aims to inspire girls and the lyrics send a message about their potential.

Find out more about Yegna

Smart Economics

What would happen if every Ethiopian girl had the chance to shape her own future and that of her country? That's what we explore in our Smart Economics web page. You can listen to real girls talking about some of the challenges they face in their lives, download the full report, and read our policy briefs on child marriage and education.

Watch the Smart Economics film


Alliance to end child marriage

The Amhara region of Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. A survey in 2010 found 52% of girls were married by the age of 15 (UNFPA/Pop Council Gender Survey). Girl Effect Ethiopia is working with the Ethiopian government and national and international organisations to build the National Alliance to End Child Marriage. The Alliance brings together a network of more than 50 partners to share their expertise, co-ordinate efforts on the ground and influence policymakers to maximise impact for girls. 

Alliance to End Child Marriage

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The challenges girls face in Ethiopia

Girls are the greatest force for change on the planet and the good news is there are more than nine million girls aged 10-19 in Ethiopia. Figures show that if every Ethiopian girl finished her education before starting work, it would add $4 billion USD to the country's economy. That's more than Ethiopia receives in aid in a year.*

Ethiopian girls face social and cultural barriers to accessing services and opportunities. Being a girl is all too often a story of isolation. Long hours spent doing household chores and a culture of parental protection keeps girls at home, resulting in 21 per cent saying they don’t have a single trusted friend and a third being unable to read.

If girls are unable to fulfil their potential, they are an untapped force for reducing global poverty. Just think what could happen if we reached every girl with the right intervention at the right time. That’s our vision.

*(Chabaan and Cunningham 2011)

Related to Ethiopia


To end child marriage, we must focus on girls

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Girl Summit: one year on

The Girl Summit 2014 demanded an end to FGM and child, early and forced marriage within a generation. One year on, see how Ethiopia is taking forward its commitment to end FGM and child marriage by 2025.
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Abet, which means 'we are here' in Amharic, has been voted single of the year in a listeners' choice award.
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Designed for girls, with girls

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At 15 I was forced to stop my education to get married because I lost the support of my family

This generation says no: girls talk child marriage

Child marriage endangers girls' lives and limits their potential. Three Ethiopian girls tell their story.
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In numbers: Daily life for girls in Ethiopia

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