Merck Foundation CEO Champions “Fashion With Purpose” Community Who Are Their Fashion Award Winners to Break Infertility Stigma
- 21 Winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020 from Ghana, Namibia and Zambia were celebrated during the ceremony.
- 2 New fashion awards 2021 were announced by Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted an award ceremony to felicitate and celebrate the winners of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ FASHION AWARDS 2020. The awards were announced in partnership with the African First Ladies, also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother expressed, “I am very happy and proud to meet our winners of the Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020 and welcome them to our newly established ‘Fashion with Purpose’ community. I am impressed with their designs that deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say ‘No to Infertility Stigma’, via sensitizing our communities.”
During the Award Ceremony, Merck Foundation CEO advised the winners, the young African Designers on how their respective designs can be created and executed to open a dialogue and create the culture shift desired.
The Videoconference was also attended by past winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards. It was also attended by Fashion designers & students and media representatives across Africa.
“My vision is to develop a community of young African Fashion Designers in order to catalyze a movement, that reaches and extends far beyond just fashion, and creates a culture shift and be the voice of the voiceless in their communities.
Fashion industry has already got enough flakes for being superficial. Let’s change this perception and create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities. I love fashion and I strongly believe that designers can make designs for Men and Women that they would be proud to wear to show their contribution toward their communities, villages, and cities across Africa,” added Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.
As a part of the awards, Merck Foundation has provided the winners with a one-year access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass” which is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet and offers online courses in many areas such as: art of designing, fashion, photography, lifestyle, discovering your inner voice and many other areas of Media, Film making and storytelling etc.
“I am very excited to be a part of the ‘Fashion with a Purpose’ community in Africa, led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej. She is a true fashion icon, who has a unique style. It was an absolute honour to meet her and be mentored by her. Thanks to Merck Foundation for involving us in such important campaign,” emphasized Joel Musasa, Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020 winner from Namibia.
During the Award Ceremony, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej also announced Call for Applications for their annual competitions for the best design that carries messages to address sensitive social and health issues. The two awards launched for the year 2021, for African Fashion Designer community are:
1. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and/or Empowering Girls and Women through Education.
Submission deadline: 30th October 2021. Click here to view more details.
2. Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021: All African Fashion Designers and Students are invited to create and share designs of masks and other clothing items that carry messages to encourage people to wear masks to show they care and at the same time make it creative and fun!
Submission deadline: 30th October 2021. Click here to view more details.
List of Award Winners of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother FASHION Awards 2020:
Winners from Ghana in partnership with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
- Leticia Ashie Owusu
- Gifty Amonu Essel
- Kizito Ronald Jr
- Placid Leke
- Anuja Bharti
- Paul Akrofie
- Desmond Nhyira Amankonah
Winners from Namibia in partnership with H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
- Linrico Humphries
- Stephany-Lee Schmidt (Libi)
- Aina Shigwedha
- Hope Gowera
- Joel Musasa
- Eugenia Benard
- Paulton Luciano Witbooi
Winners from Zambia in partnership with H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Former Lady of Zambia and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
- Nelly Banda
- Ruth Chimbala
- Cecilia Njobvu
- Linda Ngwira
- Naomi Soko
- Gibstar Makangila
- Kasonde Makangila
“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:
H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo
H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia
H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,
The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana
H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic
H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia
H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
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
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, The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU and The Former First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The Former First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H.E. CONDÉ DJENE 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 www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.
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Mehak Handa (Community Awareness Program Manager), Merck Foundation, [email protected], +91-9310087613/ +91-9319606669
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