For UK readers, the name Yegna registered briefly in January 2017, when a series of aggressive reports by the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail forced the hand of the first-term secretary of state at the Department for International Development (DfID). Amid the extravagances of the department's large and longstanding international aid budget, one of the most egregious examples, the Mail seethed, was "Ethiopia's Spice Girls." An easy story, the reports confirmed a narrative that many found compelling: why, when there are problems in the UK, problems requiring money, would the government fund such a nebulous and lightweight project?
Finally, the minister relented. Priti Patel's own campaigning for Brexit, which often invoked the wastefulness of the country's international budgetary agreements, left her vulnerable, catalysing the decision. The department would withdraw its £5.2 million funding from the project without a word to defend the money already invested. Whether it worked or not, the project fell victim to a politically motivated decision. The Mail had won, it seemed. British taxpayers would no longer fund "Ethiopia's Spice Girls." The project fell out of the UK's consciousness, most likely withering into insignificance.