Merck Foundation empowers African journalists, as CEO joins Media Award jury


Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Merck Foundation, on Tuesday in Abuja disclosed that the Foundation had developed several programmes aimed at empowering African media talent through media recognition awards.

“We focus on building African media capacity through our trainings, scholarships and media recognition awards throughout the year.

“We recently celebrated more than 150 winners from African media organizations and provided training to more than 1200 journalists in 18 African countries.

“This programme will continue and progress in the next 10 years in partnership with African First Ladies and ministries of communication and information across Africa,’’ she told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja.

The CEO noted that the foundation also empowers youth and women in media through training and Master Classes for media award winners, to raise awareness about health and sensitive issues such as coronavirus, infertility, stigma and girl education.

Merck Foundation is a philanthropic organization committed to promoting the well-being of people and advancing their lives through science, particularly women and youth in underserved communities around the globe.

Reacting to her inclusion in the women jury for the 2020 APO Group African Women in Media Award, Kelej said her selection underscored the importance of gender equality in business and media.

‘`This is the largest and most influential panel of judges ever assembled for an African media award and it supports my belief in the critical role that the media plays to break silence and be the voice of the voiceless,’’ Kelej said.

The Virtual Conference and Awards, billed to hold between Dec. 2 – 3 with the theme: ‘Reimagining Business & Rebuilding Better’ will see the 100-member jury select the winning journalist for the sixth Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF).

Kelej, who has been cited as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in 2019 and 2020, disclosed that she had developed several impactful programmes through the Merck Foundation.

“These programmes are focused on building healthcare, media capacity and improving access to health in Africa.

“One of the programmes we have is the Merck Foundation signature campaign `More Than a Mother’. “It is aimed at breaking the infertility stigma and empowering childless and infertile women through access to information, health, change of mindset and economic empowerment,’’ she said.

NAN also reports that some of the global icons on the jury include, famous black actress and model, Naomi Campbell, and Fatma Samoura, the Secretary-General of FIFA.

Others are Nitin Gajria, Sub-Saharan Africa Director of Google, Vanessa Mongar, Director, Gender, Women and Civil Society of AfDB, and Rose Thuo, Head of Communications and Marketing, Africa, for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), among others. (NAN)

– Nov. 18, 2020 @ 15:25 GMT |

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