By Nuru Ahmed
Merck Foundation in partnership with the first Lady of Malawi launch a program to motivate girls to pursue sciences.
The program, Educating Linda is to empower girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with the first Lady of Malawi, Prof. Gerturude Mutharika with BEAM TRUST is to support the education of girls of Stella Maris and Providence Girls Secondary Schools in Blantyre and Mulanje.
Prof. Mutharika and Merck Foundation want to see girls challenging boys in both sciences and technology in the two schools by not leaving them behind.
Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ emphasizes, “Merck foundation is very keen on girl child education. It is sad to know that some brilliant girls drop out of school because of lacking basic school necessities such as fees and uniform. This is the reason why we are initiating this program to support educational needs so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams.”
Prof. Mutharika , also the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “Girls pursuing studies in all educational institutions in the country need to be dedicated and step into frontiers that are male dominated”.
The “Educating Linda” project is to help young unprivileged, brilliant, hardworking and sharp students in class. The essence of the program is to offer an opportunity to such girls to pursue their dreams in life through quality education.
Merck Foundation in partnership with Beam Trust will support education of these girls by providing school fees, school uniforms and other essentials including notebooks, blankets, pens and mathematical instruments.
Merck Foundation is to launch the program in other countries in partnership with the First Ladies who are members of the Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) as part of the ‘Call for Action’ during their latest meeting in Accra.
“I am very happy with the passion that First Ladies have about girl education. I realize there’s need for more support as there are many brilliant girls out there who are struggling financially and socially to meet their educational needs,” Dr Rasha Kelej explained.
“Therefore, we started Educating Linda program to contribute to the future of these girls as part of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign. I strongly believe that empowering women starts with education to enable them to be healthier, stronger and independent. Women are more than mothers.”
Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia.
The countries include; Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D’IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.
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, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.
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 more than a Mother community awareness campaigns.
Education offers knowledge and skills that are aimed at enlightening women and girls in society. It includes schools, vocational training, college, technical, professional and health education. Socio-economic changes are brought to the society when girls are educated.
It is important for girls to be granted the right to access education for the society’s sustainability.
Through education, they will know the importance of health and maintaining proper hygiene, learning how to live and lead a healthy lifestyle, thus, preventing health related diseases.
In addition, when girls are educated, they know healthy ways to take care of their families. It will lead to a healthy nation if the primary caregivers of children and families have knowledge on proper hygiene and practice it. It will help reduce the prevalence of people suffering from various diseases.
If girls are educated, they can be successful in their various professions. It will be easier for girls to go for the careers they love or to do what they dream of being. Given the opportunity, girls can become doctors, pilots, and engineers. They will be able to perform well in their work and be successful in what they do.
Educated girls are respected in most of the societies they come from. Hence education gives dignity and honor. Educated girls will be a source of inspiration to many young girls as they will be perceived as role models. If you educate a girl, you educate a family and a whole nation.