Best Partnership Finalists: General Mills and Merck with CARE

Join My Village, a poverty-fighting program that empowers girls and women in Malawi and India through health, education and economic opportunities, is collaboration between two major U.S. corporations (General Mills and Merck & Co., Inc.) and the humanitarian organization CARE.

In a unique process of digital donations, the companies’ contributions are “unlocked” by online visitors to and dedicated social media sites including Facebook. The funds are then distributed to CARE programs that create lasting change for girls and women in Malawi and India. By breaking down barriers of culture and geography, Join My Village strengthens the bonds that unite individuals everywhere who understand an investment in a woman is an investment in a whole community.


Malawi ranks the 3rd-poorest and one of the least-developed countries. India, the 2nd-largest country on earth with a population of 1.18 billion, is home to one-fifth of all children under age five, and each year, 65,000 women in India die from problems related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Reducing global poverty is a process. It requires a multi-year commitment to begin chipping away at the underlying factors that cause poverty.

The results of Join My Village show that a woman can have a dramatic influence on her family and community.

Ultimately, if we can help one woman, we can help her entire village.

Officials from General Mills, Merck, and CARE are jointly involved in the strategic direction of Join My Village  and the day-to-day consumer outreach and engagement. By leveraging the unique strengths of each organization, Join My Village achieves its programmatic, outreach and fundraising goals. In addition, employees at both General Mills and Merck become engaged through corporate philanthropic activities that are timed with seasonal themes such as Mother’s Day or back-to-school. In addition, Join My Village leverages celebrity supporters, thought leadership opportunities, and  social media to engage supporters in the program.

The collaboration comes to life in communities such as Kasungu in Malawi and in the provinces of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in Northern India.

In Malawi, Join My Village has:

  • Helped support women-owned businesses through Village Savings and Loan Associations.
  • Built homes for female primary school teachers.
  • Provided classroom materials and building sanitation facilities at primary schools.
  • Funded secondary school scholarships for girls.

In India, Join My Village has:

  • Strengthened maternal and newborn health programs.
  • Supported accelerated education programs to allow girls with no schooling to complete five years of primary education in 11 months before moving to mainstream schools.
  • Provided accelerated learning to girls in government schools, serving isolated and minority communities with low female literacy rates and large educational gender gaps.

What the Partnership Has Accomplished

Join My Village is making a dramatic difference for women and girls around the world. Since 2009, it has helped bring life-changing opportunities to thousands of families in Malawi, which inspired its expansion into India in 2012.

Since its inception, the program has made a notable difference for people in Malawi: more than 12,000 children have gained access to new classrooms and reference materials. More than 400 secondary scholarships have been given; 19 homes have been built for female teachers; more than 2,300 women joined Village Savings & Loan organizations to start businesses; and 250 secondary school girls received mentoring to continue their education. In addition, the program has attracted a large and growing online following and more than 300,000 people have clicked and shared Join My Village programs.

With the expansion of Join My Village to India in 2012, the program will also reach approximately 48,000 pregnant women in 1,000 villages with maternal and newborn health programs; provide 100 girls aged 10-14 who are at extreme social and economic risk with an accelerated learning opportunity; and train teachers to provide a quality education for 2,400 girls in grades 6-8 who are from isolated and minority communities and would otherwise not be educated.

JMV Achievements – Malawi



2012 Goals

Village Savings & Loan Organizations




Village Savings & Loan Participants




Secondary Scholarships Awarded




Schools Supported with Reference Materials




Homes Built for Female Teachers





Why It Makes Sense

CARE, General Mills, and Merck are all committed to to strengthening families and communities. General Mills first supported CARE’s work in Africa, and realized it could make a bigger impact by using its marketing expertise to connect the cause with millions of its consumers. Merck joined forces with CARE and General Mills as a partner in Join My Village because for Merck and the Merck Company Foundation, Join My Village aligns with the company’s overall strategy to deliver health services around the globe. Merck has once again seized a remarkable opportunity to help reduce disease, increase life expectancy, and improve lives worldwide. 

All Finalists

Caterpillar w/ FRTA

Hilton w/ Global Soap Project

Intel w/ World Vision

Merck and General Mills w/ CARE

WellPoint w/ Boys & Girls Clubs of America