Zambia: 'Intensify Awareness Campaigns On Women's Struggles'

An international women advocacy organisation (Merk Foundation) has called for the intensifying of stories on struggles women go through as a way of helping reduce inequality and stigma.

Adding its voice to the fight for women rights during the ongoing 16 days of activism against gender based violence, Merk Foundation said it was important to adopt various strategies to tell the story of the struggles women go through.

Merck Foundation's Chief Executive Officer Rasha Kelej said that infertility was an unfortunate stigma and source of gender based violence needing to be tackled.

Merk Foundation runs a project called 'More Than a Mother' campaign which seeks to amplify the worth of women even when they have no children as their importance to society goes beyond being just a mother.

Dr Kelej said her organisation in its continued effort to fight the stigma against women was engaging musicians across the world to tell the story in local languages so that the message could reach a wider audience.

In Zambia, Merk Foundation has worked with local songbird Victoria Mhone Known as Wezi, who has done a song titled Chuumba (childless woman) which explains the pain a woman has had to undergo because of her childlessness including divorce and physical violence.

She said that the song among the few done across the continent in various local languages communicates the key message of women being more than just mothers and that they are integral and indispensable members of society.

"Through this song, I want to give out a message to all the girls to be dedicated and step into frontiers that are male-dominated. You can be a doctor, engineer, judge, scientist, pilot, banker, investor, minister and even president. Believe in yourself, you can advance our Africa," she said.

The song is a brainchild of Dr Kelej.

Merk Foundation earlier this year held a conference in Zambia propagating the worth of women even if they do not have children and worked with First Lady Esther Lungu and named her Ambassador.

Merk last week held its annual Conference in Accra, Ghana and worked with the First Lady of Ghana Rebecca Akufo Addo to raise awareness and build healthcare capacity.

"It is very impressive to see that the First Ladies of Malawi, Liberia and Burundi who are also the Ambassadors of "Merck More Than a Mother" help in spreading the information. Education is the only thing that no one can take away from you," she said.

Wezi showcased her song at the Merk Foundation annual conference in Ghana at which the Zambian First Lady attended.

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