Merck Foundation CEO virtually joins Botswana First Lady during her cycling tour to STOP GBV and marked the International day of ‘Elimination of violence against Women and Girls’ through the Poster Contest


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Dr. Rasha Kelej virtually joined Botswana First Lady during her cycling tour as part of STOP GBV and marked the International day of ‘Elimination of violence against Women and Girls’

  • Merck Foundation and Botswana First Lady marks International Day of ‘Elimination of Violence against Women’ by starting Poster Contest to STOP GBV.

Merck Foundation marks  the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with the announcement of “Stop GBV” Poster Contest in partnership with H.E Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana and Ambassador of Merck More Than A Mother, with the aim to prevent gender-based violence and child abuse in the country.

Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej, joined the virtual cycling tour of a Botswana First Lady, H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI to become a part of this creative initiative. “I believe this is the first time that an African First Lady has cycled across her country for a cause. It was also great to see the amazing support the President of BotswanaH.E. MR. MOKGWEETSI MASISI gave to his lovely wife, First Lady and mother of Botswana, and to all of us to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

I salute my dear sister, H.E MRS. NEO JANE MASISI for her great efforts and innovative idea to stop Gender-Based Violence and encourage us to take a stand against GBV and child abuse” Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized. 

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, marks the International day of ‘Elimination of violence against Women and Girls’

Speaking of the “Stop GBV” Initiative, and before her cycling tour to support it, The First Lady of Botswana H.E MRS. NEO JANE MASISI said, “The pandemic has brought us to a standstill, but it has also given rise to another pandemic; that is violence against girls, women and children. Pre-existing gender inequities that fuel violence at homes, has worsened due to extended quarantine periods. The “Stop GBV” initiative and the Poster Contest along with Merck Foundation will contribute to our efforts to end GBV (Gender based Violence) in Botswana, and we have  focused our joint efforts to fight against GBV, protecting humanity especially the girls and women. GBV has destroyed families and taken us back in the achievement of development goals, and promoted disunity within communities, both at the national and international level.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of the 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020) emphasized, “The Coronavirus outbreak has worsened the impact of existing social and cultural issues, which severely affected women and children, who have been locked up with their abusers and have become the victims of domestic abuse more than ever. With the “Stop GBV” Initiative, I am joining hands with my sister, H.E Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana, to support her great efforts to Stop Gender-Based Violence and encourage people to take a stand against GBV and child abuse.”

The “Stop GBV” Poster Contest will be Merck Foundation’s and The Botswana First Lady’s aim to contribute towards eliminating gender-based violence from Botswana.

The “Stop GBV” Poster Contest  will be held across Botswana and the aim of the Contest is to select the most creative and inspiring work advocating one of the key Contest objectives which are: To Stop GBV, help people understand that GBV is unacceptable and evil, promote Zero tolerance of GBV, and demonstrate that GBV can be emotional, financial, physical, and sexual.

The Contest is open for both females and males from the age of 18-55, and all Botswana regardless of place of residence, are eligible to enter the contest.

Entries for the contest should be submitted by email in File format (JPG, PNG) to by including a narrative to explain the key message on the poster as part of the email, and the narrative should not exceed 200 characters.

The last day to submit entries for the “Stop GBV” Poster Contest is 31 December 2020.

“Violence against girls, women, and children continues to be a pressing issue, not only in Africa, but everywhere across the globe, and with the event of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the “Stop GBV” Poster Contest, in partnership with The First Lady of Botswana, we hope to bring a change in our societies and convey that prevention of gender-based violence is a basic human right ”, added Dr. Kelej


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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 Flicker.