Merck chose International Women’s Day’ as the day that they launch their ‘Merck STEM for Girls and Women’ program for the first time in Liberia. This also included the launch of the Merck More than a Mother program in Liberia.
“Today we are recognizing the International Women’s Day by starting this very critical campaign for Liberia with the aim to empower an under-privileged segment of women. Women who couldn’t bear children and for this they are discriminated and mistreated by their husbands, families and communities. In some cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. This is unacceptable and has to change through our campaign,” said Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.
The STEM Project launched by Merck will be the first external support Victoria Tolbert School in Liberia gets since their establishment by the President of Liberia, Hin. Ellen Sirleaf, for underprivileged and vulnerable girls.
“As a Ministry we have made a decision to collaborate with ‘Merck More than a Mother’ to help these women so that they are not stigmatized and discriminated against just because they are infertile and so that they can be empowered to become productive members of society. We also decided to partner with ‘Merck STEM’ program to empower our girls in STEM. This program is very important for Liberia and Her Excellency President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is very interested to make this program a great success,” said Julia Cassell, Liberia's Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
‘Merck More than a Mother’ was first implemented in Kenya in 2015 followed by Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Central African Republic in 2016. In Liberia both ‘Merck More than a Mother’ and ‘Merck STEM’ program are in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.