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Creator of ‘Tibeb Girls’ use their Superpowers to Stop Harmful Practices against Girls in Rural Areas in Ethiopia

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'Tibeb Girls' is an animated cartoon featuring three young girls who use superpowers to fight the injustice and oppression Ethiopian girls routinely face. (Screenshot from 'Tibeb Girls') VOA
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Three young Ethiopian girls use their superpowers to stop harmful practices against girls in rural areas and to promote access to school. That is the story behind “Tibeb Girls,” a new animated series developed in Ethiopia.

“Tibeb Girls” is the first animated cartoon in which Ethiopian girls play not only the lead characters, but are also portrayed as superheroes. “Tibeb” means wisdom in Amharic.

“For me, it was very important to have girls who look like me and who look like my child to be on the screen playing very good role models,” said Bruktawit Tigabu, who created “Tibeb Girls.”

Bruktawit Tigabu, creator of 'Tibeb Girls.'
Bruktawit Tigabu, creator of ‘Tibeb Girls.’ VOA

The animated cartoon breaks taboos by discussing things such as menstruation and, in the first episode, the lead characters save a girl from child marriage.

Bruktawit screens the show at schools and events around Ethiopia.

“Most of the issues we are raising are not well discussed in the community or in school or in the house,” she said. “So that is another inspiration to really break the taboo and give them a very entertaining, but also engaging way to talk about very serious subjects.”

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The animated series is produced in Addis Ababa with a team of voice actors, artists and writers.

Representing and empowering girls is a big responsibility. Therefore the writers, such as Mahlet Haileyesus, put a lot of preparation into an episode.

“We try to include everybody, like the relevant stakeholders, government bureaus, specific target groups,” said Mahlet Haileyesus, one of the show’s writers. “And then once the synopsis is developed, we do prototyping, which means we go to the field and test it.”

Meaza Takele reads the 'Tibeb Girls' comis strip to her young children.

Meaza Takele reads the ‘Tibeb Girls’ comis strip to her young children.

“Tibeb Girls” is also published as a comic strip that Meaza Takele reads to her young children each night before they go to bed.

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“When I ask my children why they love the cartoon, they say it’s because now they have a cartoon that is Ethiopian and where their own language is spoken,” she said.

Creator Bruktawit hopes to raise funds to further develop the TV show, as she tries to sell the first season to broadcasters in Ethiopia and other African countries where young girls face the same issues. (VOA)

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WHO Ships Vaccination For Yellow Fever in Ethiopia

The introduction of yellow fever vaccination into routine immunization in Ethiopia is planned for 2020.

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Yellow fever
A technician at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, sterilizes one of the labs where the yellow fever vaccine is made. The World Health Organization said Monday it will send more than a million doses of the vaccine to Ethiopia. VOA

The World Health Organization is releasing more than a million doses of yellow fever vaccine from its emergency stockpile after the deadly mosquito-borne disease killed 10 people in southwestern Ethiopia, a WHO report said Monday.

The outbreak was confirmed in Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region and has been traced back to a patient who fell ill on Aug. 21. It has caused 35 suspected cases of the disease.

“This outbreak is of concern since the population of Ethiopia is highly susceptible to yellow fever due to absence of recent exposure and lack of large-scale immunization,” the WHO report said.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Wikimedia Commons

Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, and although only a small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, about half of those die within seven to 10 days.

All the confirmed cases came from Offa Woreda district, and there have been no more confirmed cases since an immediate reactive vaccination campaign was conducted there in mid-October, reaching around 31,000 people.

However, the WHO said there was a risk of further spread of the disease, partly because of conflict in the region, and it was releasing 1.45 million doses of vaccine for a mass campaign that needed to take place “without further delay.”

Also Read: Air Pollution A Major Risk For Children: WHO

Ethiopia, the home country of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is within the geographic “yellow fever belt” and had frequent outbreaks until the 1960s, but no more until 143 cases were confirmed in the SNNP region in 2013, the weekly report said.

The introduction of yellow fever vaccination into routine immunization in Ethiopia is planned for 2020. (VOA)