Leaving no girl behind: Merck Foundation in partnership with the First Lady of Malawi, motivate girls to pursue sciences.



Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More than A Mother with H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother during the launch of Merck Foundation programs in Malawi.

  • Merck Foundation launches “Educating Linda” program in partnership with the First Lady of Malawi and Ministry of Education of Malawi
  • The program will empower girls in STEM education.

Dr. Rasha Kelej (centre), CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More than A Mother with H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA (on her left) , The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA together with BEAM TRUST will support education of girls of Stella Maris and Providence Girls Secondary Schools in Blantyre and Mulanje respectively.

In the two schools, The First Lady of Malawi and Merck foundation are leaving no girl behind and would like to see girls competing with boys in all fields of study including sciences and technology.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasizes, “Merck foundation is very keen on girl child education. It is sad to know that some brilliant girls drop out of school due to lack of basic school necessities such as fees and uniform. This is the reason why we are initiating this program to support educational needs so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams”.

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “Girls pursuing studies in all educational institutions in the country need to be dedicated and step into frontiers that are male dominated”.

The ‘Educating Linda’ project has been rolled out to help young unprivileged but brilliant, hardworking and sharp in class. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity to such girls to pursue their dreams in life through a quality education. Merck Foundation in partnership with Beam Trust will support education of these girls by providing school fees, school uniforms and other essentials including notebooks, blankets, pens and mathematical instruments.

Merck Foundation plans to launch the program in other countries in partnership with the First Ladies who are members in Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) as part of the ‘Call for Action’ of their latest meeting in Accra.

Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “I am very happy with the passion that First Ladies have about girl education. I realize there’s need for more support as there are many brilliant girls out there who are struggling financially and socially to meet their educational needs. Therefore, we started ‘Educating Linda’ program to contribute to the future of these girls as part of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign. I strongly believe that empowering women starts with education to enable them to be healthier, stronger and independent. Women are more than mothers”.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;

“Merck 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 and effective fertility care. 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 More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on 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. 

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D'IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

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 COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAPAIGN, 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
  • 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.

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 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.

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.