Merck Foundation celebrates World Art Day 2024 with pan-African initiative

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, commemorated World Art Day 2024 through its pan-African community, “Art and Fashion with Purpose.” Spearheaded by Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, according to an APO statement, the initiative aims to raise awareness about critical health and social issues across Africa and beyond.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, renowned as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in consecutive years, expressed her delight in marking World Art Day. She emphasised the profound impact of art, fashion and media in addressing societal challenges, underscoring their role in fostering a cultural shift. Reflecting on this ethos, Merck Foundation launched “Our Africa,” a groundbreaking pan-African TV programme conceptualised to address issues like ending child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), gender-based violence (GBV), infertility stigma, and diabetes and hypertension awareness.

“Our Africa by Merck Foundation” features collaborations with African fashion designers, singers, and experts to engage audiences across the continent. Broadcasted on prime TV stations in multiple countries and extensively across social media platforms, the program has captivated millions of viewers, amplifying its impact on societal consciousness.

Senator Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation during Our Africa TV Programme

Furthermore, Merck Foundation, in partnership with Africa’s First Ladies, annually announces eight prestigious awards recognising excellence in media, fashion design, filmmaking and music. These awards, aligned with Merck Foundation’s mission to empower communities, focus on themes such as breaking infertility stigma, promoting girls’ education, combating child marriage and FGM, and advocating for diabetes and hypertension prevention.

Senator Kelej underscored the rich cultural heritage of Africa, emphasising the significance of leveraging art as a catalyst for social change. Through various initiatives, including the creation of over 30 songs and eight children’s storybooks, Merck Foundation endeavours to instil early awareness of social and health issues, nurturing empathy and informed decision-making among youth.

The release of four animation films in multiple languages further amplifies Merck Foundation’s commitment to empowering communities. These films, addressing themes ranging from diabetes and hypertension awareness to girls’ education, serve as poignant narratives aimed at inspiring a brighter, healthier future for Africa.

In conclusion, Senator Kelej reiterated Merck Foundation’s unwavering dedication to utilising art as a transformative medium for positive change. With an emphasis on innovation and inclusivity, Merck Foundation continues to spearhead initiatives that resonate with communities, driving impactful societal transformation across Africa and beyond.

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