Lusaka, Zambia & Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan African TV program that is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to feature African Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent experts from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa.
The TV program has been broadcasted on prime TV stations of many countries like KTV in Kenya, NTV in Uganda, and GH One TV in Ghana and ZNBC in Zambia, AYV in Sierra Leone and LTV, Liberia, and it immediately captured the attention and hearts of millions of viewers across Africa. “Our Africa” TV Program will soon be broadcast on TV 3 in Ghana, BTV in Botswana, KTN in Kenya and QTV in The Gambia. “Our Africa” TV Program is currently on social media handles of Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) and Merck Foundation (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube).
The theme for the Third Episode is Breaking the Infertility Stigma, particularly around women, in Africa.
Watch the Third Episode promo here: https://youtu.be/9vzLW3HGshU
Watch the Third Episode here: https://youtu.be/BONCtUJZLHI
The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed, “Firstly, I would like to thank all the viewers and followers for the amazing response we have received for our TV Program ‘Our Africa’. Our social media is flooded with lovely and inspiring messages from the viewers! This episode is indeed close to my heart as an African woman, as it is part of our signature campaign “More than a Mother”, the work we have created by our fashion designers and artists all over Africa was very encouraging and kept pushing us to work harder to address this sensitive issue and empower infertile women through information, health and change of mindset. And of course, we will keep addressing more sensitive social and health issues to be the voice of the voiceless in our beloved Africa.”
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation further emphasized, “The messages of the designs are also focusing on the issue of male infertility and how fertility is a shared responsibility as it takes a man and woman to have a child. We have addressed this issue through our Fashion and Art with Purpose community. Together we can create a culture shift that will help our communities better understand and act on different issues. Through this episode, I also got a chance to thank my dear sisters, the African First Ladies who I have worked very closely with Merck Foundation for this Movement, as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
I would also like to thank our viewers for the amazing response we have been receiving, this is indeed very inspiring and encouraging. Moreover, I would especially like to acknowledge the love we have been receiving from our social media followers, it is phenomenal.”
Merck Foundation’s iconic “More Than a Mother” campaign started and led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is a rallying movement to Break Infertility Stigma faced by women across the African continent.
“More Than a Mother’ Movement is very close to my heart. Along with all the initiatives under this Movement, Merck Foundation also supports building healthcare capacity in Africa, therefore, I am happy to share that Merck Foundation has provided more than 435 scholarships to doctors from 39 countries, with the aim to advance women’s health by building Reproductive & Sexual care and Fertility Care Capacity in Africa and beyond. Moreover, we have trained more than 2200 media representatives from more than 35 countries to raise community awareness, creating a culture shift and breaking the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women,” explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
This third episode featured prominent personalities like Nontando Mposo, Editor-in-Chief, Glamour Magazine, South Africa and popular Singer Blaze from Mozambique. Fashion designers Anuja Bharti from Ghana and Alberto from Mozambique showcased their designs that displayed strong messages on #NoToInfertilityStigma and #MenToo can be the cause of infertility.
The episode also featured a song by H.E. George Weah, the President of Republic of Liberia created to support Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” movement. This song talks about encouraging men to support their wives during the journey of creating a happy family. Listen and watch the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfjS3kY2YWY
Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under Merck Foundation’s “More Than a Mother” movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them to get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and re-build 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 in partnership with African First Ladies has also launched children’s storybooks to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and resulted domestic violence in the future. The storybooks have been localized for each country to have a better connect with the young readers. David’s Story, launched in partnership with African First Ladies of over 20 countries, is one of these interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility. Read David’s Story here: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1623068222_8c2d31133aeda35530d4.pdf
Merck Foundation has also released many songs to raise awareness about infertility stigma under their “More Than a Mother” campaign. Listen to some of the songs here:
- Watch, share & subscribe to the ‘Plus qu’une MERE’ composed and sung by Ms. Lucky-Lou, the daughter of The President and The First Lady of Burundi: https://youtu.be/EEUjxjqlHv0
- Watch, share & subscribe to the “More Than a Mother” song by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ6ZprqAAJs
Listen to all “More than a Mother” songs here:
“To address this important issue of breaking infertility stigma and also a wide range of other social issues, we annually launch Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’ Awards in partnership with African First Ladies. I would also like to invite the African Community of Media, Fashion, Film making, and Musicians, students and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, in order to create a culture shift and break the silence about one or more of the following topics: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels. I am looking forward to receiving their creative work on [email protected],” added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Watch the Promo of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOdXqQUdkm8