Merck takes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) very seriously, they have demonstrated a long term commitment to Africa’s social and economic development, they have engaged with communities to understand the challenges and explore solutions and develop the appropriate programs with appropriate engagement of local stakeholders and partners.
We spoke with Dr. Rasha Kelej (photo above); the Chief Social Officer of Merck. An African woman and pharmacist from Egypt, she is there everywhere in Africa, meeting with women and girls in Villages, Students at Universities as well as members of parliament ministers and First Ladies; going seven layers beneath any problem, digging for meaning, understanding and different perspective of Africa’s challenges, asking too many questions to be able to touch people lives and leave an impact.
She has won the award of women empowerment recently in Spain as a recognition of Merck More than a mother campaign development and implementation in Africa as well as empowering women in the fields of research and healthcare
She explained during Merck more than a Mother recent event in Abidjan” I am extremely proud to work for Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company which established in 1668. Throughout all these generation CSR is part of Merck’s DNA. Merck empowered me and my team to dedicate our time and resources for only one objective, to add a concrete and measurable value to societies and scientific community to improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions for Africa and developing countries” said Rasha Kelej , Chief Social Officer Merck .
I learnt a lot from working closely with Prof. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, the chairman of the Executive Board and The Family Board of Merck, who have a great passion for Africa , and dedicate a large part of his time to visit African countries to contribute personally in all CSR programs to fulfill his commitment to build Healthcare capacity and empower youth and women in the field of Healthcare and research. He is been awarded with “HE for She” for Women Empowerment Award.
I am also very happy to work closely with Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO of Merck healthcare, my role model, she is a strong, smart, elegant and successful woman. She inspires me and inspire many other women. She also very dedicated to empower women and advocate for gender equality across the globe.
We asked Rasha Kelej about the secret of her success, she answered:
The greatest enemy of success is the fear of failure, so you do not try to do something new. I always explore my strengthes within me and take risk and start new things. I never compare myself to others , I only compare what I done; not with what others done, but with what I should or could have done.
“I also believe in being there by myself, all my programs demand me to be there with them, with people, with communities, it is very important to talk to people who affected by the problems and who would benefit from solutions. I will do this all the time, I will never give them up” Rasha confirmed
Merck has developed a lot of initiatives under the umbrella of Merck Capacity Advancement Program- CAP. In every initiative Merck gives back to society and contribute to the African Development hence to Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs.