Take the Live Below the Line Challenge

Imagine trying to live off $1.75 a day. For lodging, food, clothing.


Shocking though this sounds, for the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty throughout the world, this is a reality.


Of course it is not like these poor souls are handed a buck seventy five every morning and told not to spend it all in one place, it’s just that that is what it averages out to. This is almost mind-boggling to a culture -our culture- whose citizens spend five dollars on a latte without batting an eye.

In order to raise awareness of the plight of our fellow humans, and to raise some much needed money in an effort to eliminate extreme poverty, Live Below The Line (LBL) is launching its first Canadian campaign, from April 29 to May 3, 2013, challenging participants to spend only $1.75 a day on food and drink.

So what is Live Below the Line? Here, from their website, is what they’re all about:

In 2009, Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project and Nick Allardice from the Oaktree Foundation in Australia, were living together in a shared house. Nick and Rich shared a common passion for alleviating poverty. Many of their conversations highlighted how hard it was to truly understand the lack of freedom and choice that living in extreme poverty entailed.

– One night, over a few beers with my housemate, we started talking about the difficulty of communicating the lack of choice and opportunity for those living below the extreme poverty line.

We started to think about what US$1.25 buys you here. We were certain it wasn’t possible to survive on even that amount of food. In fact, we were certain that you’d have to be crazy to try.

So, I decided that I would be crazy – I took on the challenge for three weeks in September, and documented my experiences.

Friends who had never shown an interest in my work were suddenly engaged with the reasons for my sudden change in eating habits. My experiences living below the line created a window into the world of extreme poverty.

Together, Nick and Rich saw the opportunity to take this concept to thousands of citizens across the world to help them appreciate the reality of extreme poverty, and in doing so raise critical money to continue the work needed to end extreme poverty. And so, Live Below The Line was born.

April 29 to May 3rd. That’s five days; a school week, a work week, Monday to Friday. At first this may seem impossible. Feed yourself for less than a twoonie a day? Impossible, no. Challenging, certainly. Which is why the organizers of this initiative are full of ideas that will make this challenge possible.

This is not the sort of thing you want to tackle alone, so LBL also has a series of guidelines to help engage your school, church, your local politicians or your workplace.

Pooling resources, working as a team, getting members of your church, workplace or school involved, sharing food, recipes, skills, ideas and experiences, and alerting social media and traditional media sources, all contribute to raising awareness and raising funds. There is power in numbers; spread the word, share the wealth. Employers, you want a teambuilding experience to help your employees bond? Try this on for size. Teachers and educators, want to get your students to find out what 1.4 billion people experience every day? Here’s an initiative that is altruistic and educational, challenging and rewarding.

So how is it possible to stretch $8.75 for five days?  The folks at LBL have some suggestions here. If you have a blog, or facebook page, or twitter account, let people know how you’re doing. It don’t cost a thing.

Okay, if you’re up to the challenge, here are a couple sample recipes to get you on the right track. Note that one is for a hearty, healthy breakfast, and the other is for dinner. Total cost per person, for the two meals: $ 1.19.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes in the comments and on twitter and facebook.


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