By Cassien Tribunal Aungane
There are many reasons why people in Africa believe that Merck Foundation, the German not-for-profit Foundation is most influential in Africa.
One of these reasons is that Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is an African woman who is nominated as the One of the Most Influential Africans for 2019, 2020, and 2021; and she is also a Senator in the Egyptian Senate, her high profile, long experience and wise unique vision has added great value to better understand the African Continent and its pressing issues of building healthcare capacity, empowering women in STEM and supporting girl education.
It should be noted that she was made the 100 Most Influential Africans for empowering women in general and infertile women in particular through the Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a historic movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education, and change of mind-sets.
Merck Foundation is making history in Africa;
Merck Foundation programs have greatly contributed to building professional healthcare capacity through providing more than 1300 doctors from 45 countries with scholarships of one year, two year and three years diploma and master degree in more than 26 critical and underserved specialties. 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.
20 African First Ladies are Merck Foundation Ambassadors
Merck Foundation in partnership with their Ambassadors, the First Ladies of Africa, supported our African Communities during Coronavirus lockdown through donations, raising awareness, and training more than 150 doctors to be Respiratory Care Specialists and Intensive Care Specialists.
They also worked together to support girl education so that they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams through “Educating Linda” program by providing scholarships and school items for thousands of girls in Twenty African countries.
Addressing a wide range of critical Social and Health Topics;
Merck Foundation is successfully addressing a wide range of critical social and health topics through their partnership with media, fashion & art and through capacity building; such as breaking Infertility stigma through the signature movement “More than a Mother”.
Moreover, Merck Foundation is also addressing issues like stopping GBV, ending Child Marriage, ending FGM, supporting girl education, women empowerment, supporting a Healthy Lifestyle, sustainability, Diabetes Early Detection & Prevention and many more ….
Merck Foundation succeeded to create a “Fashion and Art with Purpose” community.
Merck Foundation is the first and maybe the only Foundation that succeeded to involve young artists, singers, fashion designers, filmmakers, and musicians to work closely with them to break the silence and create a culture shift, all this is because of the creativity of their CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej, as she is the brain and soul behind all these innovative initiatives. She has also worked as Executive Producer and Director for many songs videos, films and other content of Merck Foundation materials in English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and sometimes other local languages.
Merck Foundation breaks the silence;
– 9 Social Media Channels with more than 3 million followers
– More than 25 songs
– More than 2000 videos
– 10 children storybooks
– Six different awards (Fedia, Fashion, Film and Song, every year with more than 200 winners every year).
Their media and awareness content competes with many TV channels in quality and influence, therefore Five TV Channels gave Merck Foundation a weekly space to share their awareness content with their audiences so that they can sensitize wider communities in rural areas nationwide. We are all looking forward to watching their program like we follow their valuable social media materials.
Moreover; more than 2000 media persons have been trained to better raise awareness about different social and health issues.
It appears clearly that Programs conducted by Merck Foundation create the movement of sensitization in important issues for the welfare of communities.
“More than a Mother” a historic movement of Merck Foundation;
The influence of Merck Foundation can be seen in the “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” which is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-set. It supports countries in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective, and equitable fertility & reproductive care solutions. It also defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for the first fertility specialists and embryologists in many countries in Africa.