The awards were initiated with the aim to recognize and appreciate professional journalists and students who have produced accurate, informative and compelling stories about infertility, infertile women or couples.
The award ceremony will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 9th of July 2018. It will be attended by top fertility experts, eminent media personalities, policy makers, infertile women and other distinguished media people from across Africa.
“I strongly believe that media has the power to bring in desired behavior change in the society. Media plays an important role in educating people around sensitive issues such as infertility stigma and raise awareness about male infertility and infertility prevention. We will define a call for action for all invited African Journalists for addressing the issue in their communities during our first Media Health Training which we will conduct on the next day” emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother.
The awards were announced for four segments namely; Multimedia, Print, Radio and Online segment for two broad categories; professional journalists and media students.
The awards attracted over 300 applications from journalists and students from various media houses, radio stations and online portals.
“We were overwhelmed to see the response from the media community. This encouraged us to continue with this initiative in 2018 and beyond to motivate the professional journalists and media students to continue writing and advocate for this noble cause. We have also started two important hashtags #MenToo can suffer infertility not women only, and #NoToInfertilityStigma to encourage all our media partners to start this movement across their wide platforms” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
Merck Foundation also invites applications for “Merck More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2018. The award will have two categories; Journalists and Students. The Award is open to Print, TV broadcast, Radio and on-line journalists and media students whose stories appear in newspapers, websites, blogs and television targeting the general public addressing Infertility Stigma and stories about Infertile women and couples with the aim to empower them and change the cultural perception of their condition . The last date of submission of applications is February 2019.
The jury for the awards consisted of Mr. Tom Mshindi, Editor-in-chief, Nation Media Group, Mr. William Pike, Director, Radio Africa Group/ Star Publications, Ms. Renee Ngamau, Radio Host/Life Coach, Capital FM and Ms. Carole Mandi, Founder/ Publisher, Carole Mandi Media and was chaired by Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother.
Here are the details of first award winners from profession journalist’s category from each segment:
The award from the Multimedia Segment will be conferred to Ms. Namukabo L Werungah and team from NTV Kenya for their excellent story named ‘A tale of pain and shame of childless women in Busia’. The team will be rewarded with USD 5000 at the ceremony.
The award from the Print Media Segment will be given to Mr. Gardy Chacha, Senior Health and Science Reporter from Standard Newspaper, Kenya. He was selected for his soul-stirring story named ‘Cecilia Wairimu: One woman, Three marriages, 11 years of Infertility’. He will be rewarded with USD 1500.
The award from the Online Media Segment will be conferred to Ms. Molatelo Mainetje, News and Current Affair Producer and Documentary Filmmaker from South Africa for her short film called ‘Womb Man’. She will be rewarded with USD 1500.
Ms. Asha Bakidusa, Journalist with Royal Media Services Limited, Under Bahari FM, Kenya has been selected as the award winner from the Radio Segment for her program on ‘How family men supporting their spouses in cases of Infertility’. She will be rewarded with USD 1500.
Here are the details of first award winners from student’s category from each segment:
I strongly believe that media has the power to bring in desired behavior change in the society
The award from the Online Media Segment will be conferred to Ms. Lilian Kaivilu, Freelance Journalist and Founder of Impacthub Media, Linguistics Media and Communication Student at MOI University, Kenya, for her story ‘The wrath of barrenness in Kamba culture’. She will be rewarded with USD 1000.
The award from the Print Media Segment will be given to Mr. Sérgio Simão Raimundo from Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique. He was selected for his story named ‘Infertility in the South of Mozambique’. He will be rewarded with USD 1000.
The award ceremony will be followed by Merck Foundation’s first ‘Merck Health Media Training’ to break stigma around infertility and improve awareness about male infertility. It will be held on 10th of July with the aim to train African journalists about the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
In many cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.
As part of this Campaign, we started “Empowering Berna” project in Africa to help childless and infertile women starting their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology and Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and Asia.
Merck Foundation provided for more than 50 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Siri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.
Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF centers in Ethiopia and Uganda through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.
“Merck more than a Mother” launched in 2015, is a program of the Merck Foundation, the foundation drives many of our initiatives and programs in the area of build health care and research capacity and improves access to equitable healthcare solutions.