63 Winners of Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards 2021 in Partnership With African First Ladies Announced by Merck Foundation

Dodoma, Tanzania & Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:  Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with African First Ladies announced the winners of Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021. The awards were announced by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother together with African First Ladies, who are also the Ambassadors of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’. The theme of the awards was: Raising awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility Stigma, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022  Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation celebrated the winners saying “I am extremely proud and pleased to announce the winners of Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards ‘More Than a Mother’ 2021. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the African First Ladies for their consistent support as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother. I appreciate all the efforts put in by the African Media Fraternity who became the voice of the voiceless to raise awareness about sensitive social and cultural issues such as Infertility stigma and girl education action, in the past year. I have always emphasized the prominent role of media as I strongly believe that both media and art have the capacity and ability to create a culture shift in our communities in a cost-effective way. I welcome all the winners to be members of our Merck Foundation Alumni and work closely with us to support and empower women and girls at all levels.”

Merck Foundation received a great response from African journalists in the form of several excellent entries. The ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ Awards Committee introduced second and third positions in order to select more than one winner for different categories. The awards committee also announced Special Awards, to acknowledge the high quality of work received in more than one category by the same applicant and this to encourage their passion and dedication towards this noble cause.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, said, “I am very happy with the work showcased by all our winners; hence it gives me immense joy to announce that Merck Foundation is additionally rewarding the winners by providing them with one year access to an online educational training program called ‘MasterClass’. The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course that can be accessed anywhere with the Internet. I encourage all the winners to be ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother Advocate’ to further raise awareness about infertility, eliminate the stigma around it and support girl education. I also welcome them as valuable members of ‘Merck Foundation Alumni’.

She further added, “I would also like to announce the Call for Applications for the Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards ‘More Than a Mother’ 2022. I am looking forward to the entries from the Media Fraternity across Africa this year to write meaningful and influencing stories and reports to raise awareness and sensitize our communities about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility Stigma, Empowering Girls & Women through Education. We shall soon share details on these awards for the upcoming year, 2022.”  
Here is the list of Award Winners:

Here are the winners from West African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia, H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW; The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO; The First Lady of Liberia, H.E. CLAR MARIE WEAH; and The First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dr. AISHA MUHAMMADU BUHARI:

FIRST Position:
  • Dzifa Tetteh Tay, The SpectatorGHANA
  • Ojoma Akor, Daily Trust NewspaperNIGERIA
SECOND Position:
  • Jonathan Donkor, Ghanaian TimesGHANA
  • Efia Akese, The MirrorGHANA

THIRD Position:
  • Yaw Asirifi-Twum, Freelance JournalistGHANA
FIRST Position:
  • Never Garmah Lomo, Newspublictrust.comLIBERIA
  • Zadok Kwame Gyes, Daily Graphic / Graphic OnlineGHANA
SECOND Position:
  • Neta Kris Abiana Parsram And Emmanuel Kwasi Debrah, Multimedia Group LimitedGHANA
  • Benedicta Gyimaah Folley, Ghanaian TimesGHANA
THIRD Position:
  • Agnes Opoku Sarong, New Times CorporationGHANA
  • Bukola Afeni, Newsdayonline.comNIGERIA
FIRST Position:
  • Nyadror Adanuti Nelson, Diamond FMTamale (Northern Region)GHANA
SECOND Position:
  • Never Garmah Lomo, Newspublictrust.comLIBERIA
FIRST Position:
  • Alieu Ceesay, QTV GambiaThe GAMBIA
SECOND Position:
  • Akua Oforiwa Darko, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GHANA
THIRD Position:
  • Beatrice Senadju, Ghana Broadasting CorporationGHANA
Winners from Southern African Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS; The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA; The First Lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA:
FIRST Position:
  • Sonja, Freelance Journalist at The Namibian NewspaperNAMIBIA
  • Moses Mugugunyeki, The StandardZIMBABWE
SECOND Position:
  • Memory Kutengule Chatonda, Weekend NationMALAWI
THIRD Position:
  • Isaac Salima, Times GroupMALAWI
FIRST Position:
  • Shireen Van Wyk, Freelance JournalistNAMIBIA
  • Tendai Rupapa, The HeraldZIMBABWE
  • John Manzongo, The Herald NewspaperZIMBABWE
  • Gracious Mugovera, The PatriotZIMBABWE
SECOND Position:
  • June Shimuoshili, Unwrap.OnlineNAMIBIA
  • Catherine Murombedzi Nee Mwauyakufa, The ObserverZIMBABWE
THIRD Position:
  • Eva Hatontola Chanda, Radio Christian VoiceZAMBIA
FIRST Position:
  • Prudence Chibale Siabana, Radio PhoenixZAMBIA
SECOND Position:
  • Janet MtaliTrans World Radio, MALAWI
FIRST Position:
  • Alepher kasongo, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation- MBCMALAWI
SECOND Position:
  • Brenard Mwanza, Luntha televisionMALAWI
Here are the winners from East African Countries:
FIRST Position:
  • Christina Mwakangale, The GuardianTANZANIA
FIRST Position:
  • Bridges Mugala, 2includeeveryone.blogspot.comKENYA
  • Veronica Romwald Mrema, matukionamaisha.blogspot.comTANZANIA
FIRST Position:
  • Adam Gabriel Hhando, CG FM RadioTANZANIA
  • Victor Moturi, Pamoja FMKENYA
SECOND Position:
  • Jumbe Benjamin, KFM RADIO (Nation Media Group – Uganda)UGANDA
THIRD Position:
  • Mercy Tyra Murengu, Atoo Sifa Fm-Kakuma, Stringer for Voice of AmericaKENYA
FIRST Position:
  • Walter Mwesigye, NTV UgandaUGANDA
  • Zainab Mohammed, TV47 KenyaKENYA
SECOND Position:
  • Elizabeth Kadzo GungaRoyal Media Services (Citizen TV), KENYA
  • Anne NjoguStandard Media Group, KENYA
Here are the winners from African French Speaking Countries in partnership with The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE; The First Lady of Central African Republic, H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA; The First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI:
FIRST Position:
  • Issa Moussa, Niger TimesNIGER
  • Iradukunda, Journal Le Renouveau du BurundiBURUNDI
SECOND Position:
  • Donat Muemba, Jua MagazineDRC
FIRST Position:
  • Koami Agbetiafa, Niger Inter HebdoNIGER
  • Bahwa Ferdinand, Le Journal AfricaBURUNDI
  • Ambrosine Mêmèdé Azododassi, Savoir News AgencyTOGO
SECOND Position:
  • Bréhima Traore, Alert-mali.comMALI
  • Ngwa Keziah Fela, Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) YaoundeCAMEROON
FIRST Position:
  • Schella Claudicia Yemengali, Radio CentrafriqueCAR
  • Ndayishimiye Cyriaque, Radio TV BuntuBURUNDI
  • Magendero Benigne, RTV Buntu BuyeBURUNDI
SECOND Position:
  • Stephane Kokanzo, Radio CentrafriqueCAR
THIRD Position:
  • Innocent Ndihokubwayo, Radio Tv BuntuBURUNDI
FIRST Position:
  • Donat Muemba, Jua Services / Jua Magazine, DRC
  • Matthias Kabuya TshilumbaRadio Télévision Débout Kasaï (RTDK) Mbuji-Mayi, DRC
  • Jean Népomuscène IrambonaRadio-TV Buntu, BURUNDI
Here are the Special Award Winners

  • Cassien Tribunal Aungane, Diplomacy & DevelopmentDRC
  • Jessy NZENGU, lualabamaprovince.comDRC
  • Jean-Bosco NtaconayigizE, Radio TV BuntuBURUNDI
  • Ahmed Bello, Savoirnews.netCAMEROON
  • Maurice Tuninahazimana, Radio TV BuntuBURUNDI

About ‘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 change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

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


The First Lady of Botswana

H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo

H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique

H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia

H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia


The First Lady of Burundi

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana

H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic

H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia

H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone

H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville

H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

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

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, 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
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country


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About Merck Foundation
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, 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 quality & equitable 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 visit www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck FoundationFacebookTwitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.