• Merck Foundation has launched the “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ Call for Applications. 

    “We have established this award to showcase and appreciate outstanding health journalism and to recognize individual professional journalists and students who have produced accurate, informative, and compelling stories about infertile women or couples,” emphasized Dr. RashaKelej, Chief Executive Officer, of Merck Foundation and President of “Merck More than a Mother”.

    The stories targeted are those of infertile women sharing their suffering and abuse by their husbands, families or communities due to their condition. It is very critical to share these stories with the public to build advocacy of the need to change such behavior and break the stigma around infertility in general. It also will provide a platform for those who have sought treatment to advise others on the journey and support those undergoing infertility treatments.

    The stories submitted should be in a form of articles with photos, or three to five minute videos recorded using smart devices.

    Visit our website to see example of the videos and different articles about infertile women, men and couples.

    The Awards will honor and reward outstanding journalistic coverage that enhances the public’s engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change the social perception of it in African communities.

    Watch videos below on the stories of women’s suffering as a result of the infertility stigma.

     Merck More Than a Mother with Grace Kambini AKA “Mama Chips”

    Merck More Than a Mother with ElishibaNjoki

    Merck More Than a Mother with Byansi Adrian Ssemugga and SawuyaNtongo, couple from Uganda

    Prize Award

    Who can apply?

    The Award is open to print, video broadcast, photo journalists and media students whose stories appear in newspapers, websites, blogs and television and that target the public.

    Submission will be judged and recipients selected based on the following categories:

    Print and Online

    • Newspapers or magazines
    • Online (blogs and/or social media)


    • Television
    • Online (blogs and /or social media)


    • Newspaper or magazines
    • Online(blogs and /or social media)


    Judging Panel

    The judging panel consists of experts from diverse professional backgrounds including journalists, communications experts and media managers.


    • The story must have been published any time before 30th  AUGUST 2017
    • Links to the stories must be submitted before the dead line.
    • Plagiarism of any kind will lead to automatic disqualification
    • Photo entries will only be limited to 2 photographs per journalist/student.
    • Applicants should be East African journalists and registered media students in East Africa.


    Deadline for submission of the stories and photos is 31st AUGUST 2017.

    Application Process

    Applicants Name, Sex, Age, Media House or Institution (for students), Country and Contacts must be provided with the submission.

    Applications can be submitted via

    Health and Social Facts 

    Inability to have a child or to conceive can result in being greatly ostracized, isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This may lead to denial of access to family traditions, divorce or physical and psychological abuse. The social stigma of childlessness especially for infertile women still leads to isolation and stigmatization in many cultures. While it’s estimated that about 50% of infertility cases are caused by male factors, women are left to solely carry the burden of blame.
    Together we can create a Culture Shift.

    Merck More than a Mother” Campaign  is very important for Africa, as it is well known that the consequences of infertility are much more dramatic in developing countries and can create more wide ranging social and cultural problems compared to western societies, particularly for women.

    Merck More than a Mother” Campaign aims to empower infertile women through access to information, health, change of mind set and economic empowerment.

    The Awards

    The Merck More than a Mother Media Recognition Awards is an initiative by Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company; to raise awareness about the critical role the media can play in breaking the stigma around infertility. It also aims to change the culture of discrimination and abuse of infertile women while educating the public about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In addition, the campaign aims to encourage men to discuss their infertility condition openly, support their wives through the journey of testing and treatment.
    Fertility is a Shared Responsibility.

    About Merck Foundation

    The Merck Foundation, established in 2017,  is a non-profit limited liability company in accordance with German law and is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA. Merck foundation aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.   Please go to  to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.

    Until we see each other again, 

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