• Merck Foundation Calls for Applications for “Merck More than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards and Fashion Awards to break infertility stigma
17th July 2019, Lilongwe, Malawi: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany organized their first “Merck Foundation Health Media Training” in Lilongwe, Malawi in partnership with H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother together with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information to break the stigma around infertility in Malawi and rest of Africa.
Merck Foundation also announced the Call for Application of “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards from Malawi and rest of Africa.
“All Fashion Designers are invited to create a design with the aim to deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say “No to Infertility Stigma”. Designs ideas can also deliver messages to encourage men to speak openly about their infertility, because 50% of infertility causes are due to male factor”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother
Talking about the Health Media Training program Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “This program is a part of ‘Merck More than a Mother’ community awareness Program and was organized for the first time in Malawi for local media representatives and media students”.
The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA emphasized, “We are happy to host this training program together with Merck Foundation. Media plays an important role is sensitizing our society. It can help in breaking the stigma around infertility.”
“It is important to initiate this important training program as I strongly believe that media has the capacity and ability to break the stigma around infertility in our communities in a regular and effective basis.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
The training was addressed by The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, who is also the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother and Hon. Mark Botomani, Minister of Information, Malawi. It was also addressed by Ministry of Health Officials and stalwarts of Media.
Moreover, it provided a great opportunity for the journalists to meet the experts and also to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility and its resulted domestic violence in Malawi and rest of Africa.
The program was attended by journalists working for Print, TV, Radio and Online media and journalism students.
“The Merck Health Media Training program focused on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility and other health issues in Africa. It was designed to benefit the journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best media practices to cover such issues” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Merck Foundation also announced Call for Application for “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ for Malawi and rest of Africa. The “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ were launched in 2017 with the aim to emphasize the role of media in enhancing the public engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change its social perception in African communities.
The applications are invited by media professionals to showcase their work to raise awareness about infertility prevention and breaking infertility stigma in Malawi.
About Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards
Who can apply? Journalists from print, online, radio and multimedia platforms from Malawi and rest of Africa.
Last date of submission: Entries can be submitted till 31st December 2019.
How to apply? Entries can be submitted via email to
Categories and prize money for winners:
About Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
Who can apply? All Fashion Designers from Malawi and rest of Africa.
How to apply? The applicants are requested to send the sketches of their creations as an attachment on email: email@example.com. Please mention the subject: Merck Foundation Fashion Awards and add your name, your email and contact number.
Last date of submission: Entries can be submitted till 31st December 2019.
The best 02 submissions will be selected by ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ committee. Winners will be granted $500 each to execute their designs.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. This powerful initiative supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.
With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.
The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry; H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia; H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger; H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course in partnership with IRSI, Indonesia, IIRRH, India and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal University), India to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and developing countries. Merck Foundation provided for more than 109 candidates, in clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 30 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother such as;
Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training
Merck More than a Mother fashion award
Merck More than a Mother film award
Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
Download the Merck Foundation App now
Join the conversation on our social media platforms below and let your voice be heard
Join Merck Foundation online community to exchange experience and information with other healthcare providers, researchers, students, policy makers and communitymembers in Africa and beyond www.merck-foundation.com
About Merck Foundation The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to www.merck-foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
About Merck Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries. Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma