Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, together with African First Ladies, marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2023 as a part of the Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” and “Educating Linda” program. Through “Our Africa” TV program, Merck Foundation addressed the harm and danger of FGM and urged African communities to Stop FGM in one of the 15 episodes that is broadcasted over Nation TV Stations of Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and soon to be also broadcast in The Gambia and Botswana.
Watch the Episode of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program on Ending FGM here: https://youtu.be/7GtXkBYv_94
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of “More Than a Mother” campaign expressed on the importance of observing this day, “Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a very serious problem that is a deep-rooted social norm in many cultures in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is high time we act and raise our voice against this age-old futile practice that denies women and girls their dignity, endangers their health, causes needless pain & suffering and many other 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.”
According to the UN data, the world over 1 in 4 women have undergone female genital mutilation, this is close to 52 million women world-over. Merck Foundation supports the UN’s cause of putting an end to the practice of FGM by 2030.
“FGM has no health benefits, it only harms girls and women physically and psychologically. FGM can also lead to severe medical complications in women such as infertility as infection due to FGM is one of the main causes of Infertility. FGM also increases the risk of HIV transmission and can cause severe complications during childbirth. We must understand that FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. This practice needs to stop immediately.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
“I strongly believe that Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment and will definitely help in stopping practices such as FGM which do not benefit anyone, educated mothers will know the harm and danger of FGM on their girls, moreover, Education also fosters questioning and discussion and provides opportunities for individuals to take on social roles that are not dependent on the practice of FGM for acceptance,” Dr. Rasha Kelej further emphasized.
“Together with African First Ladies, Merck Foundation has contributed to the future of 1000’s of girls by providing scholarships to continue their education and providing essential school items, through our “Educating Linda” program in many African countries such as Burundi, Malawi, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and more. Merck Foundation has released many inspiring children’s storybooks and songs to support girl education. Moreover, we have announced awards of Best Film, Song, Fashion Designs and Media on this issue,” added Senator Kelej.
Merck Foundation’s pan African TV program “Our Africa”, that is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and features African Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent experts from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa, has an episode dedicated to open a dialogue regarding the ill effects of FGM and supporting girl education.
Merck Foundation has also collaborated with various music talents from Africa and released songs that speak address issues such as supporting girl education and women empowerment.
Watch the new song “Girls Can” by Cwesi Oteng and Irene Logan here: https://youtu.be/6LP92vAWYgs
Moreover, Merck Foundation has also released many other inspiring songs on women empowerment and supporting girls’ education:
- Watch, share & subscribe the “Like Them” song here, sung by Kenneth, a famous singer from Uganda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCo52vtz3Q0
- Watch, share & subscribe “Take me to School” song here, sung by Wezi, Afro-soul singer from Zambia, to support girls’ education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWcujLMbKSg
- Watch share & subscribe “Tu Podes Sim” Portuguese song, which means “Yes, You Can” in English by Blaze and Tamyris Moiane, singers from Mozambique in English here: https://youtu.be/BGWR2S-mxl4
- Watch, share & subscribe “ABC, 123” by Sean K from Namibia song here: https://youtu.be/4Z2i4Wh-bpk
- Watch, share & subscribe “Brighter day” song by Sean K and Cwesi Oteng from Namibia and Ghana respectively: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3_C4uyFuZk
Merck Foundation has also introduced and launched interesting storybooks for children to teach them the values of respecting women and underline the importance of girls’ education.
- To read Educating Linda Storybook, pls visit: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1623068469_6affa28d861b48da41cf.pdf
- To read Jackline’s Rescue Storybook, pls visit: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1639990408_efbd2346fb16c605c12d.pd
- To read Ride into the Future Storybook, pls visit: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1639993429_cca7a831eeb6dbe2c188.pdf
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