Merck Foundation Celebrates International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022


Merck Foundation (, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022 under Merck Foundation’s “More Than a Mother” and “Educating Linda” program.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chair of Merck Foundation’s More Than a Mother Campaign stressed on the occasion of the celebration of this important day, “Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a deeply rooted social norm for girls and women in many cultures in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, they deprive them of their dignity, endanger their health and cause unnecessary pain and suffering and many serious complications that they are forced to live with the rest of their lives, such as; Infertility, infections, stillborn babies and in some cases can also lead to death”.

The UN estimates that 200 million women and girls worldwide have undergone FGM, with 80% of cases occurring in Africa alone. Most of the girls who have undergone this practice are under 15 years old.

“Given this dire situation, I strongly believe that raising awareness, advocacy and educating girls is the key to eradicating this practice. It is about improving access to information, health and change of mindset to have zero tolerance to FGM. Female Genital Mutilation has no health benefits, in fact it only harms women and girls physically and psychologically,” Senator, Rasha Kelej underline.

According to UN data, more than one in four women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation, or nearly 52 million women worldwide. Merck Foundation supports the UN cause to end the practice of FGM by 2030.

“I truly believe that education is power and educating girls empowers them to make their own decisions in the future when they become strong women. It will allow them to access information, health and economic opportunity, and to advocate for themselves and their families, helping them to save their daughters and prevent problems like female genital mutilation, even if it is too late for them.

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we at Merck Foundation would like to encourage everyone to work closely together to eliminate female genital mutilation from our communities. We need to work together to create a culture change to end this meaningless practice,” stressed Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation aims to raise awareness about violence against women, empower girls and women through education to bring culture change through media, art and fashion.

“Merck Foundation continues its efforts to raise awareness on sensitive issues such as FGM through Our African art and fashion community with a purpose. We will soon be launching “Our Africa”, a television show intended to be the voice of the voiceless and to break the silence on many social and health issues in Africa and create culture change together. I strongly believe that fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment. They can help raise awareness in our communities on different social and health issues such as ending FGM, ending child marriage, stopping GBV, addressing infertility stigma, supporting education of girls, etc. “, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

As part of the Merck Foundation educates Linda program, Merck Foundation helps underprivileged but bright young girls to pursue their education. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity for these girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education.

Merck Foundation has also introduced and launched interesting storybooks for children to teach them the values ​​of respecting women and emphasizing the importance of girls’ education.

1) To read Educating Linda Storybookplease visit:

2) To read Jackline’s Rescue Storybookplease visit:

3) To read Step into the storybook of the futureplease visit:

Moreover, Merck Foundation has also released many inspirational women empowerment songs supporting girls education.

1. Watch, share and subscribe to the “The Girl Can” song here, sung by two famous singers, Irene and Cwezi from Liberia and Ghana respectively:

In this song, two girls are portrayed, one uneducated and therefore powerless to fight injustice and another who went to school and fought for her rights to live a happy life.

2. Watch, share and subscribe: “You Podes Sim” Portuguese song, which means “Yes, You Can” in English, here, sung by two famous singers, Hot Blaze and Tamyris Moiane, talented Mozambican singers

The song tells the story of a disadvantaged young girl who goes through many difficulties to complete her education and finally manages to get a good education and have a successful career.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

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About the “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” campaign:
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and changing mindsets. This powerful campaign helps governments shape policies to improve access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions aimed at breaking the stigma of infertile women and raises awareness about the prevention and management of infertility and male factor infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender, Universities, Policy Makers, International Fertility Societies, Media and Art, the initiative also offers training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries. countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural change to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: by raising awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and the media, strengthening the advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and helping childless women to start their own small businesses. It’s about giving every woman the respect and help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without children.

The ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

The First Lady of Botswana

HE DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo

HE ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique

HE SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso

SE FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia

HE MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia


The First Lady of Burundi

HE REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana

HE AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria

HE BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of the Central African Republic

HE CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia

SE FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone

HE ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville

HE MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi

HE AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

The Former First Lady of Burundi, HE DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, HE HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, HE PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The Former First Lady of Niger, HE AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU and Former First Lady of Zambia, HE ESTHER LUNGU, Former First Lady of Guinea Conakry, HE CONDÉ DJENE have successfully worked with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation Ambassadors More than a mother to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation has launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim of breaking the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of the COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN More than a mother of Merck Foundation such as;

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • Award for the song “Merck Foundation More than a Mother”
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Storybook for children, localized for each country

About Merck Foundation:
Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve people’s health and well-being and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality and equitable health care solutions in underserved communities, building scientific research and health care capacity, and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and young people. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed via email as soon as they are available on Merck Foundation website. Please visit to know more. To know more, contact our social networks: Merck Foundation (; Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram( , Youtube ( and Flicker (

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been verified or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.


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