Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, The Business Executive Group, a leading Pan African Media Firm honored Merck Foundation CEO (www.Merck-Foundation.com), Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej at their Global She Achievers Awards for spearheading Merck Foundation’s programs in the Healthcare and Women&Girls Empowerment; Under the leadership of Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, Merck Foundation was also awarded the “Best Health Sector Philanthropy of the year 2023” at the Ghana Philanthropy Awards by The Business Executive Group.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Business Executive Group awarded Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, at their Global She Achievers Awards 2024, for her efforts to empower women in STEM, and girls in girls in education, and building healthcare capacity in Africa and beyond. The awards ceremony took place recently in Dubai, UAE. 

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed gratitude remarking, “Firstly, Happy International Women’s Day to all the women in the world and to the men who support and empower them.

It is a great honor to receive The Global She Achievers Award 2024, that too on the very important occasion of International Women’s Day. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Business Executive Team for acknowledging our efforts since past 12 years to empower women in STEM, support girl education and transforming public healthcare in Africa and beyond.”

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej has been successfully leading the Merck Foundation programs for the past 12 years and works closely with more than 24 Africa’s First Ladies as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation and Ministries of Health, Education, Information, Communication, Gender, Academia, Media and Art societies in 50 countries.

Senator Kelej has been recognized as one of 100 Most Influential African Women for five consecutive years from 2019 to 2023. She has also been awarded Doctorate of Letters Honoris Causa (D.Litt) by Krishna World University, India for her outstanding achievement in the social sciences, justice and reform. Moreover, under her leadership, Merck Foundation was also recognized as the “2022 NGO OF THE YEAR”.

“We at Merck Foundation, together with First Ladies of Africa, are marking the Women’s Day through our “More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a strong and unique movement that aims to empower women living with infertility stigma through access to information, education, change of mindset, and economic empowerment.” Added Senator Rasha Kelej.

As a part of their historic “More Than a Mother” campaign, Merck Foundation is contributing to building and advancing fertility care capacity in Africa and Asia, to support childless women and couples. Over 535 of the total scholarships are for doctors from 39 countries in reproductive&sexual health and fertility care capacity with the aim to advance women’s health.

Merck Foundation has till today provided more than 1730 Scholarships to young doctors in 42 critical and underserved medical specialties from 50 countries, out of which over 46%, that is 780 scholarships have been provided to women doctors.

Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under their “More Than a Mother” movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and rebuild their lives. Through ‘Empowering Berna’, the lives of many infertile women have been transformed in many African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Niger, Malawi, and many more.

Merck Foundation has also launched MARS Awards to appreciate and recognize ‘Best African Women Researchers’ and ‘Best Young African Researcher’. The aim is to empower women and young African researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), with a focus on “The Role of Scientific Research in Women Health and Reproductive Care” this year.

Together with Africa’s First Ladies, Merck Foundation has contributed to the future of 425 of girls by providing scholarships to continue their education and also providing essential school items for thousands of schoolgirls through our “Educating Linda” program in many African countries such as Burundi, Malawi, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and more. Moreover, Merck Foundation has also benefitted 1000’s of girls through their awareness campaigns which includes releasing many inspiring children’s storybooks, animation films and songs to support girl education and end child marriage.

As a part of Merck Foundation’s Community Awareness Program, Merck Foundation has created over 30 songs and 8 Children’s Storybooks in English, French, Portuguese, and local language and 7 Storybook Animation Films in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish language to instill early awareness of social and health matters, fostering empathy, understanding, and informed decision-making in young minds for a brighter, healthier future.

Moreover, Merck Foundation has launched a Pan African TV Program “Our Africa”, conceptualized, produced, directed, and hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to address the social and health issues through “Fashion and ART” community.

Merck Foundation has also trained over 3000 media representatives to raise awareness on the importance of supporting girl education and address other related sensitive issues like Ending Child Marriage and FGM, Stopping GBV, breaking infertility stigma and more.

Furthermore, in partnership with Africa’s First Ladies, Merck Foundation has announced 8 important Awards, under two themes, for Media, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers and Musicians/ Singers, and potential young African talents in these fields. 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.

“It gives me immense pleasure to witness that, together with Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond, in partnership, and this award will only motive me to do more and more.” concluded Senator Kelej.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

Media contact:
Mehak Handa 
Community Awareness Program Manager 
+91 9310087613/ +91 9319606669  
[email protected] 

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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 quality&equitable 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 visit Merck-Foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com); Facebook (https://apo-opa.info/3Ykd3hH), Twitter (https://apo-opa.info/3Yo3y11), Instagram (https://apo-opa.info/3lsqM7q), YouTube (https://apo-opa.info/3CNFGLa), and Flickr (https://apo-opa.info/3JT8BSC).


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