Issue 104 is out now
Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

27th April 2014

Ever wondered what it would be like to live on just £1 a day? That’s the reality for 1.2 billion people around the world living in extreme poverty. Live Below the Line, running from 28th April to 2nd May, asks if you could manage it too. The campaign is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organisation whose mission is to increase the numbers and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty. The campaign invites you to try living on just £1 a day for 5 days from 28th April to 2nd May, and get sponsored to do it.

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

27th April 2014

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

27th April 2014

That £1 needs to cover ALL your food and drink. Not only will it present a personal challenge, your sponsorship money will go towards fighting poverty across the world. There’s also the added benefit of raising awareness of extreme poverty and how much it impacts daily life for so many. It’s much easier to take the challenge with some support so get your friends, colleagues, family and neighbours not just to sponsor you but to join in themselves. Every year, thousands of people take part in Live Below The Line in the UK, US and Canada, raising money for 35 partner charities – all committed to ending global poverty. You can choose which charity you’d like to support here.

Will I be able to do it?
Living on so little is never going to be easy; that’s why poverty is such a desperate condition. But there are things to be aware of if you want a fighting chance of completing the challenge. Foraged food is especially abundant at this time of year and if you are worried about your family getting ample nutrition, adding fresh foraged greens to your meal will ensure this isn’t an issue. Many parents are already astute shoppers, adept at seeking out bargains, but this challenge will require some really savvy food choices. Opt for nutrient dense jarred or dried pulses – these add texture and health benefits to a meal while remaining cheap if you go for the plainest brands. Check out the reduced shelves for bargains and aim to shop at the end of the day when food that is going out of date is sold off cheaply. Get the cheapest cuts from the butcher (if you eat meat, but you might find that stretching your £1 budget to include this non-necessity is a waste of resources – so go veggie!) and ask your grocer for any vegetables or fruit that they’re throwing out. A soup or stew simmered for a little while brings out the best in fading vegetables. Jack Monroe, an anti-poverty campaigner for Oxfam, author and chef, has a delicious range of recipes on her website A Girl Called Jack. Jack was living on the poverty line as a single mum trying to raise her son on nutritious food with very little money when she began blogging about her experiences. Now she’s a respected chef with a column in the Observer and a book to her name, plus her campaign work against poverty. If anyone can rustle a delicious and nutritious meal out of the cheapest ingredients, this girl can.

Why do it?
Not only will you raise funds and awareness for people living in poverty across the world, you also get a chance to take stock of your own spending habits. Perhaps you find yourself popping out for a quick latte and a muffin for a caffeine and sugar hit in the afternoon – this challenge will make you realise when you fritter money on unhealthy food. You can only really eat healthily on £1 a day as you won’t want to waste that pound on a doughnut and eat nothing else. Getting the whole family in on it is a humbling reminder of how lucky we are in the western world, and can really help youngsters understand the concept of poverty. If you struggle to use up what’s in the fridge, this challenge calls on you to be more resourceful and discover recipes that combine what you have. I find Leith’s Vegetable Bible by Polly Tyrer fantastically useful when it comes to using up vegetables especially if I can’t for the life of me think what to do with them.

Find out more
If you’d like to take the Live Below The Line 2014 challenge, you can find out how to sign up on the website.

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