Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Art Day 2024” through their pan African Community of “Art and Fashion with Purpose”, established by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to raise awareness about sensitive health and social issues in Africa and beyond.
 
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 stated, “I am very happy to mark the ‘World Art Day 2024’, as I firmly believe that Art, Fashion and Media play a very significant role in raising awareness and address critical social and health issues thus bringing a culture shift in our communities. I have always said that Art and fashion have a purpose much beyond entertainment and looking good. With this thought, we came up with our first-ever Pan African TV program “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” which discusses and addresses various social and health issues relevant to Africa in a very unique way through our African Community of Fashion and Art with Purpose. Through this first-of-its-kind interactive Tv show, we are addressing and raising awareness about a wide range of issues like Ending Child marriage, Ending FGM, Stopping GBV, Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education and Women Empowerment and Diabetes and Hypertension Awareness and more.”
 
‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan African TV program that is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to feature African Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent experts from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa. The program has captured the attention and hearts of millions of viewers across Africa.
 
The TV program has been broadcasted on prime TV stations of many countries like KTN HOME (Kenya), GH One & TV3 (Ghana), NTV (Uganda), BTV (Botswana) Mashariki TV (Burundi), QTV (The Gambia), LNTV (Liberia), Deffi Media (Mauritius), AYV (Sierra Leone), and ZNBC (Zambia) and many more. It will soon be broadcast on TV3 in Ghana, KTN in Kenya, Mibawa TV in Malawi, NTV in Uganda and ZTN in Zimbabwe. “Our Africa” TV Program is currently on social media handles of Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) and Merck Foundation (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube).
 
Watch the Promo of the Program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RIoIMbFd2Q
 
Merck Foundation in partnership with Africa’s First Ladies, announces annually 8 important Awards, under two themes, for Media, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers and Musicians/ Singers, and potential young African talents in these fields. The themes of the two categories of awards are: 1) Breaking Infertility Stigma, Support Girls’ Education, End Child Marriage, End FGM, Stopping GBV and/ or Women Empowerment at all levels and 2) promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension. The 2024 editions were announced during the 10th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary held in India in November 2023.
 
“It is very well known that in Africa, Art has a very rich cultural legacy and history. Hence, we launch these awards annually, with my dear sisters, the African First Ladies who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother”. Through our Awards, we aim to inspire the continent's youth to use their talents to address our important and critical social and health issues, by raising awareness through their creative work at all levels.” Added Senator Kelej.
 
As a part of their Community Awareness Programs, Merck Foundation has created over 30 songs with many African Artists, in English, French, Portuguese and also local African languages to address critical issues like breaking infertility stigma, empowering women, supporting girl education, ending child marriage, diabetes awareness, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and more.
 
“Music and Art can influence us to make the problem felt, which further stimulates emotions and leads to engagement and action. Music has the power to touch the hearts and souls of people, bind communities, and bring about a cultural shift in society,” says Dr. Kelej.
 
Merck Foundation in partnership with The First Ladies of Africa has also launched 8 Children’s Storybooks in English, French, Portuguese.
 
“We have created 4 Animation Films in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish language to instill early awareness of social and health matters, fostering empathy, understanding, and informed decision-making in young minds, we focused on Diabetes and Hypertension awareness through “Sugar Free Jude” and “Mark’s Pressure”, and the other two films are about supporting girl education “Jackline’s Rescue” and “Ride into the Future”. We aim to inspire our youth and children to lead a brighter, healthier future in our beautiful continent, Africa,” emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.
 
To listen to the Merck Foundation songs and read the Merck Foundation storybooks, please visit:
https://merck-foundation.com/our-programs/Merck-Foundation-More-Than-a-Mother/Local-Songs-and-Children-Stories
 
Watch “Ride into the Future” Animation Film to emphasize on the importance of Girls Education, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXuoXZVtNr8
 
Watch “Sugar Free Jude” First Diabetes Awareness Animation Film, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iefwLSbOGT4
 
“We will continue to use Art as a medium, to bring positive changes in our communities, in unique ways,” concluded Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.