“Tibeb Girls” boost girls’ morales in Ethiopia


“Tibeb Girls,” a new animated series was recently developed by three young Ethiopian girls who use their superpowers to stop harmful practices against girls in rural areas and to promote access to school in order to make Ethiopian girls more responsible in their various locale in the country and beyond.

It is animated cartoon developed in the country in which Ethiopian girls play not only the lead characters and superheroes.

According to the creator of the animation, Bruktawit Tigabu, it was developed to create a sense of belonging in Ethiopian young girls so as to boost their moral and prepare them for the complexity of this contemporary socio-economic challenges.

“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.

She further said that animated cartoon was created to break taboos by discussing things such as menstruation and, in the first episode, the lead characters save a girl from child marriage.

“Most of the issues we are raising are not well discussed in the community or in school or in the house. 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,” she said.

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.”

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

“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.

Bruktawit to use the cartoon 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.

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