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Merck Foundation and Africa First Ladies Announced Their Media Awards 2021 and Conducted Health Media Training to Emphasize on Media’s Role in Breaking the Infertility Stigma and Support Girl Education

Lusaka, Zambia & Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:

  • Merck Foundation announced the Call for Applications for their upcoming Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and “Mask Up with Care“ Media Recognition Awards 2021 in partnership with African First Ladies at the 8th edition of “Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary”.
  • The Merck Foundation Health Media Training was attended by African, Asian, and Latin American Journalists from more than 35 countries.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted their Health Media Training through an online video conference, on the sidelines of the 8th Edition of “MERCK FOUNDATION AFRICA ASIA LUMINARY”, being held in partnership with the Government of Zambia. The conference was inaugurated by The President of Zambia, H.E. Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU and Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees. It was co-chaired by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

The Merck Foundation Health Media Training is a part of ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ community awareness Program and was organized to emphasize on the important role that media plays to influence our society to create a cultural shift with the aim to Break the Stigma around Infertility, raising awareness about Infertility Prevention, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized “I have always emphasized on the prominent role of media as I strongly believe that media has the capacity and ability to create a culture shift in our communities in a cost-effective way. Through this important training, we are aiming to educate media, especially the young journalists, on how to break the silence and be the voice of the voiceless in order to eliminate the stigma of infertility and raise awareness about male infertility and infertility prevention and emphasize the importance of girls’ education, through their day to day work.”

Merck Foundation Health Media Training was addressed by top fertility experts and stalwarts of media from countries like Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, and Senegal.

The Health Media training was attended by journalists from Print, TV, Radio and Online media from more than 35 African and Latin American countries.

During the session, Merck Foundation also announced two awards for media fraternity, Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and Merck Foundation “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021; two awards for fashion fraternity, Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021.

Furthermore, Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies announced two other important awards:

1) Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021 and
2) Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021.
“All these awards are in partnership with my dear sisters the First Ladies of Africa. 20 First Ladies will lead these awards in their countries as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More than a Mother. However, the awards are open for all of Africa as well as Latin America which will be announced separately in Spanish and Portuguese next week”, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej also emphasized, “I strongly believe that media, art, and fashion play a significant role in raising awareness about sensitive topics like infertility and girl education and women empowerment, hence will contribute significantly to break the stigma around infertile women in Africa, if utilized properly. There are many infertile women out there; we witness their stories of suffering and humiliation every day, it is time to act and make a change. Through the awards under the “More Than a Mother” campaign, we would like to join hands with media, film, music and fashion fraternity to make a change and Break Infertility Stigma, a message that must reach every door, every community, every mind, and every heart. Another important message is to emphasize the importance of girl education in our communities.

Moreover, given the unprecedented times and second wave of coronavirus, it is important to sensitize communities and raise awareness about following best practices. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will also contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high-quality, respectful treatment, and care. Hence, we came up with awards for media persons and fashion designers, so as to encourage people to wear masks during the Coronavirus pandemic and protect themselves and others.
Details of the Merck Foundation Africa “More Than A Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2021:

Who can apply:
Journalists from Print, Radio, Online, and Multimedia platforms from the following groups:

  1. Southern African Countries
  2. West African Countries
  3. East African Countries
  4. African French Speaking Countries
  5. African Portuguese Speaking Countries
  6. Latin American Countries
How to Apply:
Entries can be submitted via email to: [email protected] 
Last date of Submission: 30th August 2021
The Subject line of the mail should mention: Merck Foundation Africa “MORE THAN A MOTHER” Media Recognition Awards 2021

Please specify your name, country, category of application, and contact details in the mail.
Categories and Prize Money:

Categories Print Media Online Media Radio Multimedia
Prize Money USD 500 USD 500 USD 500 USD 1000

Sending multiple applications will increase the chances of winning the award.
For more information on the awards, please visit our website:

About ‘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 change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It 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 fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. 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 Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

The First Lady of Botswana

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia

H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia

H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana


H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria


The First Lady of Burundi

H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry

H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic

H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia

H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville

H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo

H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique


The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

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 Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, 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
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country

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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 to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.