Merck Foundation celebrates International Women’s Day through its three programs More Than a Mother, STEM Program for Women and Educating Linda in Africa and Asia

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Merck Foundationthe philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany with 20 African first ladies who are their ambassadors, ministries of health, education, communication and gender, mark “International Women’s Day 2022” theme, ‘Breaking the bias’through their various programs and initiatives such as “More Than a Mother”, “STEM Program for Women” and “Educating Linda” in Africa and Asia.
Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Most Influential African (2019, 2020 and 2021) said, “As I always say, empowering girls and women is in our DNA, that’s why for us at Merck Foundation, we celebrate International Women’s Day every day. Together with our ambassadors, the First Ladies of Africa, we work closely to empower women and girls through our programs including our More Than a Mother campaign, Educating Linda program, Merck Foundation Capacity Advancement and the Merck Foundation STEM Program”.

Merck Foundation’s “More Than a Mother” campaign is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with infertility through access to information, education, mindset change and empowerment. economic empowerment.

“Additionally, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender, Media and Art, Merck Foundation has provided more than 550 scholarships (out of a total of 1200 scholarships ) to female doctors with a one-year diploma and a two-year master’s degree for critical and underserved specialties, especially related to women’s health and reproductive health, such as the specialty of fertility, embryology and sexual and reproductive care, which are very important in transforming the health of women in Africa and in developing countries.Of course, this is in addition to;Oncology, diabetes, endocrinology, respiratory care, intensive care and many others.

To quantify our total efforts to transform access to better women’s health, I am proud that we have provided more than 370 fellowships to physicians (170 female and 202 male physicians) from 37 countries, with the aim of advancing the women’s health by strengthening reproductive and sexual health. care and fertility care capacity in Africa and beyond,” Senator Rasha Kelej explained their impact.

Merck Foundation also supports childless women by helping them to start their own small business. It’s about giving every woman the respect and support she deserves to lead a fulfilling life, with or without children.

“Additionally, we have also trained over 2000 media representatives from over 35 countries, to be the voice of the voiceless and raise awareness in the community about addressing the stigma of female infertility and other critical issues such as: ending child marriage, stopping GBV, supporting girls education and empowering women,” explained Senator, Dr Rasha.

Merck Foundation in partnership with African first ladies also announced the new edition of their annual awards for media, fashion designers, filmmakers and musicians/singers to participate in order to raise awareness through their creative work on critical social and health issues such as Breaking infertility stigma, supporting girls’ education, ending child marriage, ending female genital mutilation, ending GBV Empowering women at all levels.

“I strongly believe that media and art play a vital role in creating culture change. I also believe that fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment and beauty, d ‘where these awards. I am also very pleased to announce that we are continuing our efforts to raise awareness of such sensitive issues through our African art and fashion community with a purpose. We will soon be launching our special television program which will address all these critical issues in a very interesting, engaging yet beneficial way, so stay tuned!” Senator, Dr Kelej.

Merck Foundation strongly believes that education is one of the most critical areas for women empowerment. Through its “Educating Linda” program, Merck Foundation and African First Ladies have supported the education of some of the unprivileged but bright girls by providing scholarships and grants that can cover school fees, school uniforms and other essentials, including notebooks, pens and math instruments, so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams.

Merck Foundation also announced the MARS Awards to appreciate and recognize “Top African Women Researchers” and “Best Young African Researcher”. The aim is to empower African women and young researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Merck Foundation strongly believes that education is one of the most critical areas for women empowerment. Thanks to their “Educating Linda” program, Merck Foundation in collaboration with First Ladies of Africa has been supporting the education of some of the unprivileged but bright girls by providing scholarships and grants that can cover school fees, school uniforms and other essentials , including notebooks, pens and math instruments, so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams.

Merck Foundation also announced the MARS Rewards appreciate and recognize ‘Best African Women Researchers’ and ‘Best Young African Researcher’. The aim is to empower African women and young researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

In addition, Merck Foundation has published many inspiring children’s storybooks and more than 25 songs about fighting infertility stigma, supporting girls’ education and empowering women, in English, French and Portuguese. To listen to Merck Foundation songs and read Merck Foundation storybooks, please visit: https://merck-foundation.com/our-programs/Merck-Foundation-More-Than-a-Mother/Local -Songs-and-Children -Stories

Speaking about her message for all women on this International Women’s Day, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej stressed, “I would like to tell every woman to believe in herself and be confident at every stage of life. Passion, hard work, putting heart, soul and spirit into everything is the success factor. Also, as I always stress, when you succeed in life, don’t forget to support the other women around you.

About the “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Campaign


“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and changing mindsets. This powerful campaign helps governments shape policies to improve access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions aimed at breaking the stigma surrounding infertile women and raises awareness about the prevention and management of infertility and male factor infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender, Universities, Policy Makers, International Fertility Societies, Media and Art, the initiative also offers training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries. countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural change to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: by raising awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and the media, strengthening the advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and helping childless women to start their own small businesses. It’s about giving every woman the respect and help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without children.

The ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:









HE NEO JANE MASISI,
The First Lady of Botswana

SE FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia

HE MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia

HE ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi

HE REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana

HE AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria

HE BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of the Central African Republic

HE CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia

SE FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone

HE ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville

HE MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi

SE MUTINTA HICHILEMA, The First Lady of Zambia

HE DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo

HE ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique

HE AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

The Former First Lady of Burundi, HE DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, HE HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, HE PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The Former First Lady of Niger, HE AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU and Former First Lady of Zambia, HE ESTHER LUNGU, Former First Lady of Guinea Conakry, HE CONDÉ DJENE have successfully worked with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation Ambassadors More than a mother to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation has launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim of breaking the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of the COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN More than a mother of Merck Foundation such as –

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • Award for the song “Merck Foundation More than a Mother”
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Storybook for children, localized for each country


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