Eswatini Daily News

Global icons make up Judging Panel for African Women in Media Award

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation, the organisation that awarded Eswatini Daily News journalist with a Stay at Home award is part of the prestigious APO Group African Women in Media Award 2020 100-member jury. The judging panel also includes other global icons such as Naomi Campbell, a famous model, actress, businesswoman and Fatma Samoura Secretary-General of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) (

Other luminaries like Nitin Gajria, Sub-Saharan Africa Director of Google, Vanessa M. Moungar, Director, Gender, Women and Civil Society of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and Rose Thuo, Head of Communications and Marketing, Africa of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The jury panel includes senior leadership position holders from every major sector and industry on the African continent, including Rotary International to Gavi; Microsoft to Google; Twitter to Coca-Cola; and Harley-Davidson to LEGO.

“This is the largest and most influential panel of judges ever assembled for an African media award, and it reflects the importance of recognizing gender equality in business and the media.

“I strongly believe in the critical role that media plays to break the silence and be the voice of the voiceless. Therefore , I focused on building African media capacity through our training , scholarships and media recognition awards throughout the year, we have celebrated more than 150 winners from African media persons and provided training to more than 1200 journalists in 18 African countries. This program will continue and progress in the next 10 years in partnership with African First Ladies and ministries of communication and information across Africa. Of course Empowering youth and women in media is in the spirit of this program and all our other programs. It is in Merck Foundation’s DNA,“ said Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The CEO, who is one of the 100 Most Influential African of 2019 and 2020 has developed many impactful programs which focused on building both healthcare and media capacity and improving access to health in Africa. One of the most important programs she created is the Merck Foundation signature campaign “More Than a Mother” and its innovative initiatives which aims to break infertility stigma empower childless and infertile women through access to information, health, change of mind set and economic empowerment. She also developed Others programs with the aim to empower African media talents through several media recognition awards and providing training and master classes to awards media winners to better raise awareness about health and sensitive issues such as coronavirus , infertility stigma and girls education. Eswatini Daily News journalist will attend one of these master classes as part of winning the Stay at Home award.

Dr. Rasha Kelej says she feels delighted to be on this panel with high-powered juries .

The juries panel will select the winning journalist, who will be announced at the 6th Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum’s (AWIEF) Virtual Conference and Awards, hosted from 2-3 December 2020, with the theme ‘Reimagining Business & Rebuilding Better.’

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