ACCRA, Ghana — Merck Foundation’s collective efforts greatly contribute to the development of Africa in key sectors such as education, health and economic empowerment; Merck Foundation continues to create an impact in raising awareness about a wide range of social and health issues such as Ending Child marriage, Ending FGM, Stopping GBV, Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education and Women Empowerment; 20 African First Ladies as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation “More than a Mother” campaign; 9 Social Media Channels with more than 4 Million Followers; More than 25 songs in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic; More than 2000 videos and soon a Pan African TV Show to be Broadcasted on National TV channels across the continent; 10 children’s storybooks in three languages: English, French and Portuguese; 8 different awards of best media coverage, fashion designs, films and songs in four languages; Establishing the first ‘Fashion and Art community with Purpose’ to break the silence about social and health issues; 1000s of girls from 15 African countries to be supported through scholarship or school items annually; 2000 media persons from 25 countries trained to better raise awareness about different social and health issues.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany has been recognized as the 2022 NGO of the Year, the Most Influential NGO Shaping Africa’s Future by Avance Media, a leading rating and voting firm.
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, 2020 & 2021 expressed, “I am delighted and proud to share that Merck Foundation has been voted through Avance Media this year out of ten other very important NGOs whose collective efforts contribute to the development of Africa through many sectors such as healthcare, education, climate change, economic empowerment and more. To be named as the “NGO OF THE YEAR” and to be acknowledged as the Most Influential NGO in Africa whose collective efforts greatly contribute to Shaping Africa’s Future through key sectors such as Health, Education and Economic empowerment is encouraging me and my team to continue our efforts to transform patient care landscape, create a culture shift, support girl education, empower women and break infertility stigma in Africa and beyond. We will continue to make history and be part of Africa’s legacy. Thank you each and every one of you for believing in Merck Foundation and for voting for us.”
Merck Foundation works closely with partners that are African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities.
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “We are proud that more than 1300 doctors from 45 countries have benefited from our scholarships of one-year, two-year, and three-year diplomas and master’s degrees in more than 26 critical and underserved specialties like Fertility, Oncology, Diabetes, Hypertension, Preventive Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Critical Care, Acute Medicine and many more. Many of these doctors after graduation are the first in their countries, and this is a history in the making that makes Merck Foundation an important part of Africa’s legacy”.
Merck Foundation’s iconic “More Than a Mother” campaign is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with Infertility through access to information, education, change of mind-set, and economic empowerment. It supports countries in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility and reproductive care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility.
“I would like to emphasize that to transform access to better women’s health, we have provided more than 370 scholarships to doctors from 37 countries, with the aim to advance women’s health by building Reproductive & Sexual care and Fertility Care Capacity in Africa and beyond. Moreover, we also support childless women by helping them start their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and support she deserves to lead a fulfilling life, with or without a child”, Senator, Rasha Kelej explained their impact.
Moreover, Merck Foundation strongly believes that Education is one of the most critical areas of women’s empowerment. It has been seen that many girls drop out of school due to lack of necessities such as fees and uniforms. Merck Foundation through their ‘Educating Linda’ program has been contributing to the future of 100’s of girls in partnership with the African First Ladies as part of the Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign, from many African countries such as Burundi, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Liberia Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity for such girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education.
Also, Merck Foundation has released over 10 inspiring children’s storybooks and over 25 songs on breaking infertility stigma, supporting girls’ education, and women empowerment, in English, French and Portuguese language.
Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies has also announced two sets of Awards for Media, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers and Musicians/ Singers. The themes of the two categories of awards are: 1) Breaking Infertility Stigma, Support Girls’ Education, End Child Marriage, End FGM, Stopping GBV and/ or Women Empowerment at all levels and 2) promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.
“I strongly believe that media and Art play a critical role in creating a culture shift. I also believe that fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment and looking good, hence these awards. I am also very excited to announce that we are continuing our efforts of raising awareness against such sensitive issues through Our African community of Art and Fashion with Purpose. We will soon be launching our special television program that will address all of these critical issues in a very interesting, attractive but beneficial way, so please stay tuned for it!”, stated Senator, Dr. Kelej.
Merck Foundation was initially announced as one of 10 Most Influential NGOs Shaping Africa’s Future, along with other leading NGOs working in Africa like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, Junior Achievement Africa, and others. Merck Foundation was then voted and selected as the 2022 NGO of the Year, out of the 10 NGOs listed.
“I would again like to thank everyone who voted for us. This shows the extent of impact Merck Foundation, and our program has made on the lives of our fellow Africans. This recognition will only motivate us to do more impactful and meaningful work in our beloved Africa. I would also like to thank Avance Media for its initiative. And last but not least- my wonderful team members, who have always been Merck Foundation’s strength and have helped us achieve this feat, I am very proud of you all,” concluded Senator Kelej.