Merck Foundation and Ghana First Lady announced the Winners of “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards to break Infertility Stigma

The winners got an opportunity to exhibit their designs at the Fashion Show held during the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary
ACCRA, Ghana, January 7, 2020/ — Merck Foundation (, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announced the winners of “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards in partnership with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’. The award winners who are students at Ghana Fashion Academies got the opportunity to exhibit their designs at the Fashion Show held during the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, which was attended by African First Ladies and Ministers of Health, Gender, Information, Education and Science from more than 25 African Countries.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized “We initiated the “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards across all Africa with the aim to deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say ‘No to Infertility Stigma’ through their designs hoping to create meaningful fashion trend to educate their communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’, this fashion award is part of Merck more than a Mother community awareness. And We are happy today to acknowledge Ghana fashion award winners and looking forward to celebrating the rest of the winners across Africa”.

The awards attracted many applications, out of which, 6 best designs were chosen by the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ committee along with The Office of First Lady of Ghana.

H.E. MADAM REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother stated, “It was very nice to see the designs prepared by our future fashion designers. The creativity they showcased through their designs was applaudable. The message came out clearly through their work.”

The awards winners were granted $500 each to execute and showcase their designs. The winners were greatly welcomed by African First Ladies and Ambassadors of Merck More than a Mother, who handed them the awards themselves during the ceremony.

“No designer has ever, or would ever, say that he or she wanted to make things difficult for women. Fashion industry has already got enough flakes for being superficial. Fashion designers should be the story teller of their community, they should be the voice of the voiceless. Therefore, these awards are our efforts to change the perception and create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to break the silence and educate our communities that Women are more than just Mothers and Men are more than just fathers.” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.View multimedia contentJoin the conversation on our social media platforms below and let your voice be heard:

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.

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of MozambiqueH.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of BurundiH.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of NamibiaH.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of NigerH.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of ChadH.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra LeoneH.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of LesothoH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of ZimbabweH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAIGA, The First Lady of MaliH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia 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 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 to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (, Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram (, YouTube ( and Flicker (

About Merck:
Merck (, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 56,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2018, Merck generated sales of € 14.8 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.SOURCE
Merck Foundation

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