By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver
General Mills and Merck subsidiary MSD India joined forces in 2009 to create the “Join My Village” project to support non-profit organization CARE. They are now due to expand that project from its initial site in Malawi to India.
Join My Village was created to offer girls and women in developing countries a means to access education as a gateway to more economic opportunities and better quality of life. As of December 2011, since launching in Malawi in 2009, the project has released over $1.2 million to CARE. According to Join My Village, 4,100 women started businesses and 412 scholarships have been awarded to girls to fund their secondary school education.
Now, with the expansion, there are six active programs being supported by the project. This includes an Accelerated Learning project called Udaan for older girls in India who had to withdraw from school; Primary School Support which builds teacher housing in Malawi and brings essential reference materials like maps and dictionaries to schools; a Girls Education project which funds educational programs for girls in both India and Malawi; a microfinance project called the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) which targets Malawian girls and women; Scholarships for girls in Malawi; and KGBV school support, which offers financial support for girls in India to the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay school. It also funds a “bridge program” which trains teachers and students to work together to help the students become better with critical social skills such as group work, problem solving, and respect for oneself and others.
Join My Village is based on cause marketing and consumer engagement. All of these projects require funding and other involvement from donors. One way to support the projects is by “liking” the Join My Village page on Facebook. The more people that do this, the more project sponsors donate to Join My Village projects. Each time someone “Likes” a post, photo, or video, or visits a page or shares a project on the site, money is also donated.
According to the website, the biggest way to make an impact is to be an active donor and provide a donation directly. This is then matched by sponsors until the $1.5 million dollar capped is achieved by December 31, 2012. These donations go directly to CARE.
Flickr photograph via caolieqiao