Yet another out of the box initiative to raise awareness by Senator Rasha Kelej, a strong advocate for transforming patient care, a voice of the voiceless for many who are stigmatized due to pertinent social issues in Africa and the CEO of Merck Foundation, the Most Influential Foundation whose Collective Efforts Are Shaping Africa’s Future.
Popularly known as ‘Mama Africa’ by many, Senator Rasha Kelej is also a fashion icon. She has now added another accolade to her list of achievements with the conceptualization, production, direction, and presentation of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation”, a pan African and unique TV program that features Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent guests from various domains with the aim to raise awareness about a wide range of social and health issues in Africa.
“Stay tuned to join the conversation, Our Africa TV Program is broadcasted every Saturday @ 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya; every Sunday @ 6:30 pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda and every Sunday @ 2 pm on (GMT) GH One TV, Ghana.”
Idea behind “Our Africa by Merck Foundation”
Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasizes on the idea behind this TV program, “I am very happy and proud of creating “Our Africa by Merck Foundation’. The African continent is culturally very rich and colorful, and vibrant designs in African Fashion are proof of this. I have always admired Art and Fashion in Africa and I strongly believe that fashion and art should have a purpose beyond entertainment and looking good. They can contribute to sensitizing our communities about impeding social and health issues. All this has inspired me to create this TV program that is both educational and entertaining.”
Addressing sensitive social and health issues in our African communities.
Our goal is to reach out to youth and other members of urban and rural communities across the continent to address and raise awareness about a wide range of pressing social and health issues that are relevant to Africa such as; Breaking the Infertility Stigma, Ending Child Marriage, Supporting Girl Education, Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Stopping GBV, Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle, Prevention and Management of Diabetes and Coronavirus Health Awareness.
The TV program received an amazing response from viewers, particularly youth and children. “I am overwhelmed with the feedback about the TV program, our social media is flooded with messages from all over the world. The success of the TV program is very important to us and encourages our team to work harder for my beloved Africa”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
African Fashion designers and artists sensitize their communities through their creative work on our TV program
Senator Rasha Kelej has an eye for art and loves fashion, she strongly believes that Fashion and Art play a significant role in raising awareness about health and sensitive social topics. With her prolific vision, she has established a community called “Fashion & Art with Purpose” consisting of young talents in fashion, music, filmmaking, which can catalyze a movement that will be responsible to bring about a culture shift in Africa.
The TV program hosts many of prominent guests and fashion designers from more than 20 African countries like Ghana, The Gambia, Botswana, Namibia, Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda and more.
The show also features prominent African singers like Cwezi from Ghana, Wezi from Zambia, Kenneth from Uganda and Blaze from Mozambique, who have created songs for Merck Foundation which were broadcasted in different episodes.
Senator Kelej hosts the Show together with Uganda’s Brian Mulando
Senator, Dr. Kelej is truly a Fashionista who exudes positivity through all her actions, she has many talents and can truly multitask like the majority of African women; these qualities come through when she herself hosts “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” along with the dynamic Brian Mulondo, a famous presenter from Uganda.
Community Awareness Programs through Fashion & Art
Senator, Dr. Rasha says, “I firmly believe in the capabilities and the power of these communities to bring about a positive change in my beloved African continent”.
Therefore, we have utilized different mediums of art and fashion to address various social and health issues in Africa like Breaking Infertility Stigma, Support Girls’ Education, End Child Marriage, End FGM, Stopping GBV and/ or Women Empowerment at all levels, promoting healthy lifestyle, raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension, by launching annual Awards for Media, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, Musicians/ Singers, and new potential talents in these fields from African countries. So please apply for our awards. It is your chance to be the voice of the voiceless and break the silence. Send us your entries to email@example.com”, she added.
Merck Foundation believes that songs add significant value to influence the culture change, therefore the Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies has created over 25 songs on breaking infertility stigma, supporting girls’ education, and women empowerment in English, French and Portuguese. It is noteworthy that The President of Liberia, The Former First Lady of Burundi and The daughter of the current President of Burundi have also composed and sung songs for “Merck Foundation More than a Mother”. This speaks volumes about their programs.
Merck Foundation named as Most Influential NGO Whose Collective Efforts Are Shaping Africa’s Future
Under Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej’s leadership, Merck Foundation has been named as the “NGO OF THE YEAR 2022” and acknowledged as the Most Influential NGO in Africa whose collective efforts greatly contribute to Shaping Africa’s Future through key sectors such as Health, Education and Economic empowerment. “This recognition encourages us to continue our efforts to transform the patient care landscape and create a culture shift by addressing social and health issues in Africa.”
Merck Foundation has provided more than 1300 scholarships of one-year diplomas & two-year master degrees for doctors from 45 countries in 32 critical and underserved medical specialties such as diabetes, endocrinology, oncology, reproductive and sexual care, respiratory care, acute and critical care, cardiovascular, pediatric emergency, gastroenterology, psychiatry, urology, dermatology, neonatal care, fertility care and embryology and more. Many of them are becoming the first specialists in their countries, such as in Liberia, Niger, Chad, The Gambia, Burundi, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Guinea, Ethiopia, Congo, Nepal, Bangladesh and more.
To watch “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program and join our conversation, please visit the Merck Foundation Social Media Handles: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube or Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej Social Media Handles: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.