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Womack aids effort in Malawi

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 – Lee Ann Womack is partnering with Join My Village, a social change charity, which could lead to General Mills contributing $500,000 to programs in Africa.

The money will go towards economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in Malawi. The campaign is a partnership between General Mills and leading international humanitarian organization CARE.

Womack will appear in a public service campaign, various events and social media activities to raise awareness. Womack has also set a goal of rallying 100,000 of her fans to join the effort during her upcoming 18-city tour with George Strait and Reba McEntire next year.

"As a mother of two girls, I see the opportunities that education has created for my daughters' future," said Womack. "I believe that every girl in the world has unlimited potential and by supporting Join My Village I know we can provide girls with opportunities to learn, achieve and improve their future."

Funds will be contributed by General Mills for those who visit to learn more about girls and women in Malawi. Watching a video about a girl's new opportunity to attend secondary school, reading a story of a woman starting her own business or listening to a sample of African music from a Malawi village allows users' 'clicks' to release donations from General Mills. The company will match all individual donations dollar for dollar, up to the $500,000 goal.

Through videos, photos and blog posts from Malawi, participants can follow the real impact being made every time they take an online action to "click-to-commit" General Mills' dollars or make their own personal donation.

"We believe that if more people are simply aware of the issues, stories, and people of Malawi - even if it's only through watching a video or listening to a song - more positive, sustainable change can happen," said Ellen Goldberg Luger, Vice President of General Mills Community Action.

Launched in September 2009, the Join My Village initiative combines General Mills' consumer reach and cause marketing knowledge with CARE's approaches to fighting global poverty through the empowerment of girls and women.

"Giving back to our communities is inherent in our company's culture," said Ken Powell, Chairman and CEO of General Mills. "Extending opportunities to the developing world - especially empowering women - is part of the General Mills mission of Nourishing Lives."

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with 40 percent of the population below the poverty line. Life expectancy is 44 years of age. Only 50 percent of Malawian women are able to read and write. In its second year, Join My Village will focus on empowering girls through education. Donations will provide secondary school scholarships to set girls on the path to a brighter future, bring female teachers to villages as much-needed role models and educational advocates for girls and enable women to learn new business skills to contribute to their family's income.

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