Merck Foundation, partners with The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support livelihood of women and families of casual workers during Coronavirus lockdown


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Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation wiBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. CLAR MARIE WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lath H.E. DJÈNÈ CONDÉ, The First Lady of Guinea; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO; The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. Prof. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-dy of Namibia; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. Dr. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique and Former First Lady of Mauritania.

  • Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation & One of 100 Most Influential Africans, started “Separated but Connected” Initiative to support African Communities during Coronavirus Lockdown.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany partners with H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support livelihood of women and families of casual and daily workers who are most affected by the Coronavirus (COVID -19) lockdown.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “Lockdown to control coronavirus is going to hit most casual and daily workers very hard. Therefore, Merck Foundation decided to support African governments strategy to save the people's living and livelihood. We have also undertaken similar relief activity in Egypt as well as in Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Niger in partnership with their First Ladies to further support 600 to 1000 poor families in Each country as part of “Separated but Connected” Merck Foundation Initiative”.

H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother emphasized, “We are happy with our long-term partner Merck Foundation for their support during this time. It is important for us to take care of those affected severely by the coronavirus lockdown.”

In Partnership with The First Lady Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI

Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “I’d like to shed a light on a very important issue; The pandemic has led to a horrifying increase in violence against women. Women and girls are under higher risk of domestic violence due to increased tensions in the household. Many of these women are currently trapped with their abusers, struggling to access any support service, they are lonely and suffering in silence. Therefore, Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies supports casual workers with special focus on women as part of our signature campaign Merck More than a Mother”.

Merck Foundation has also launched their ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards in partnership with H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo in the country. The theme of the awards is ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “The ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards will encourage media to sensitize our communities. Raising awareness about coronavirus in our communities will contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response - providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, it will also enhance their great efforts in leading community dialogue to address fears and questions. Our hearts and thoughts are with them”.

The awards are open to all the journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from French speaking African Countries. The awards have been also announced in English, Portuguese and Arabic speaking African countries. It is also announced for Asian countries and middle eastern countries. The most creative and influential media work aiming to raise awareness and sensitizing communities about this alarming topic at a regular basis will be eligible to win these awards.

Details of the Merck Foundation “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards

Who can Apply:
Journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Mali and other French speaking African Countries.

Last date of submission:
Entries can be submitted till 30th June 2020

How to apply?
Entries can be submitted via Email to
Along with your details (including Name, Gender, Country, Media house, Email address & Mobile Number) and entry as an attachment

Categories and Prize Money:






Prize Money


USD 500

USD 500

USD 500

USD 500

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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.

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