Take the Challenge: Live Below the Line

Next week, from April 29th through May 5th, the Global Poverty Project is hosting the Live Below the Line Challenge. What line? The poverty line. Yeah. The extreme one.

One dollar. Fifty cents. A day.

That’s what you get. And before somebody chimes in with ‘That’ll get you a long way in a developing country!’ note that the figure is already adjusted. $1.50 represents the extreme poverty line in the United States. In a developing country you might be talking about the literal equivalent of pennies a day.


And we can’t even really recreate that situation. The challenge is to live for a week spending no more than $7.50 on food. The 1.4 billion people across the world living every week at or below that level have to stretch it to cover everything. So quick! Turn off your computer! Your phone! Lock your house and car up for the week and throw away the keys!

Those not caught in such a situation may never be able to grasp what it really means. How can we? What we can get is a glimpse into the lives of others. Walk a mile, or eat a meal, whatever, in their shoes. And remember, this isn’t just a problem in the slums of developing countries. Look around the next time you walk through downtown Seattle. Or any US city for that matter. Odds are you’ll see someone for whom everyday is spent living below the line.

Food for thought. But not a lot of food. Remember, you only have fifty cents per meal.

If you want to join in click here. Celebrities are getting in on the act too! Ben Affleck is in on the act! I don’t even like Ben Affleck, but hey. Bonus points for supporting a good cause, raising awareness, all that jazz.

Reading this blog too late? Already blew your weekly budget on a Starbucks tall half-skinny quad shot caramel drizzle frappuccino? It’s alright. We won’t hold it against you. Start tomorrow. Start next week. Or just think really hard about it. We’re raising awareness right?

Be aware.

Got any ideas for living below the line next week? Let us know in the comments.



David Wilson graduated from the University of Texas in 2006. Since then he has gone wherever the wind blows him, living in Europe, China, and the States, and traveling extensively throughout the rest of the world. When he’s not on the move, you can find him obsessing over latte art, playing piano, or trying to bleach his hair in the sunshine. Follow him on Twitter.

One thought on “Take the Challenge: Live Below the Line

  1. L. May 17, 2013 / 6:06 pm

    great idea, this could be the next meat-free monday trend, which has already changed perceptions around the world. the grass is always greener on the other side… from wealthy celebrities juice fasting away, to impoverished families in the appalachians with fresh mountain water at their doorstep yet addicted to mountain dew instead. dieting versus starving, obese versus malnourished, the scale is always tipped too far in one direction. it is normal for people to want what they can’t have. but in extreme poverty, want and need become the same thing. the hunger games may just be a book, but the grain of truth is that people do die of hunger… and its not a game. the answer is on the horizon, but the horizon is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it. but one day, we’ll all ride off into the sunset. however, this challenge is not for the faint of math skills… way too much division implied. i suggest you open a food services company that specializes in well-balanced meals worth $1.50 a day. seriously. hollywood would throw money at you. or at least ben affleck would. you wouldn’t make as much as weight watchers and nutrisystem… but you’d sleep better at night. the proof is in the pudding.

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