Lilian Kaivuli

The Merck More than a Mother Media Recognition Awards was launched in 2017 by Merck Foundation. The awards were established to showcase and appreciate outstanding health journalism and to recognize individual professional journalists and students who have produced accurate, informative, and compelling stories about infertile women or couples.

Lilian Kaivilu (, won the 1st prize with the story, The wrath of barrenness in Kamba culture walking away with $1000 in the Online segment for student category.

Applicants were required to submit stories in form of articles with photos, or three to five-minute videos recorded using smart devices. It was open to print, video broadcast, photojournalists and media students whose stories appear in newspapers, websites, blogs and television and that target the public.

The stories targeted are those of infertile women sharing their suffering and abuse by their husbands, families or communities due to their condition. It is very critical to share these stories with the public to build advocacy of the need to change such behaviour and break the stigma around infertility in general. It also will provide a platform for those who have sought treatment to advise others on the journey and support those undergoing infertility treatments.

The Awards honour and reward outstanding journalistic coverage that enhances the public’s engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change the social perception of it in African communities.

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama a blogger at won 2nd place Award in the Online segment category for her story “You’d Rather birth a Mad Man, than Never having Given Birth at all.“

The Merck More than a Mother Media Recognition Awards is an initiative by Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company; to raise awareness about the critical role the media can play in breaking the stigma around infertility. It also aims to change the culture of discrimination and abuse of infertile women while educating the public about infertility prevention, management and male infertility.