Extreme poverty is a worldwide problem that cannot be ignored. It can seem daunting to tackle an issue as widespread as poverty, but hope is not lost. Here is what you need to know about extreme poverty, and with the Living Below the Poverty Line campaign, what you can do to help eradicate it.
1. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.50 a day.
A monetary line of $1.25 was set back in 2005, and accounting for inflation, that is the equivalent of living on $1.50 today. This does not only include food, but also housing, health, education, transportation and more. After having 2 basic meals a day, of rice and vegetables, those in extreme poverty have only about 10 cents left for all other expenses.
2. The World Bank came up with the International Extreme Poverty Line.
The World Bank took the average of the national poverty lines of the world’s poorest countries in 2005 to come up with the figure of $1.25 a day. A National Poverty Line is calculated as the cost of minimum calorie intake + equivalent non-food allowance.
3. World leaders agreed to eight Millennium Development Goals in 2000 to fight extreme poverty.
The goals are:
Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Achieve Universal Education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce child mortality
Improve maternal health
Ensure environmental sustainability
Develop a global partnership for development
4. 1.4 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty.
That staggering figure is more than 4 times the entire population of the United States, and it's about one-sixth of the world's population. Sub-Saharan Africa is affected most by poverty, with issues like malaria and HIV/AIDS drastically decreasing life expectancy.
5. 75% of those living in extreme poverty are women.
Women are disproportionately affected by poverty. Opportunity International is an organization that provides loans, business training, savings and insurance to 4 million people worldwide, 93% of which are women, so that they may start their own businesses. As opposed to donating money to those in extreme poverty, which provides temporary relief, Opportunity International provides a way out of poverty by giving those in need the tools required to earn and save their own money. The cycle of poverty can be broken through this method.
6. The World Bank has estimated that World Poverty could be eliminated by 2030.
Trends have indicated that poverty levels are dropping quicker than expected, and the World Bank says global poverty will halved by 2015. Critics of this goal find it too ambitious and elitist, as well as narrowly focused on economic development, while ignoring inequalities and injustices.
7.It's a 5 day challenge anybody can do.
Since it's much easier to understand something by experiencing it, Live Below the Line is an initiative to get those fortunate enough to be on the other side of the poverty line to attempt to eat only $1.50 worth of food every day for 5 days. The event takes place from April 29 - May 3. Sign up here.
As Hugh Jackman says below, the organization wants you to "Live below the line so others may rise above it."
8. More than 20,000 people are taking part so far in 2013.
In the U.S., U.K., and Australia 20,000 people and counting are raising awareness for extreme poverty in countries far less privileged than their own.
9. Donating to the cause can also raise awareness and make a difference.
Donate to one or more of the partners of Live Below the Line, such as UNICEF and Opportunity International, if you'd like to make a difference that way. You can also donate to a specific participant of Live Below the Line, who is living in poverty for 5 days in order to raise awareness and funds for one of the partners. About $20,000 have been raised so far. Donate here.
10. Pooling your resources into a team can help you make it through the challenge.
The specifics of the challenge are listed on the website here. They offer tips on how to successfully participate, such as buying the $7.50 worth of food for 5 days at the beginning, and sticking to staples like rice and pasta. Tap water does not count, and the organization encourages you to stay healthy and eat 3 meals a day while participating. They also suggest forming a team to pool resources and make cooking easier.
Live Below the Line offers guidance on how to get support from others, as well as offers recipes to help you for those 5 days.
Live Below the Line is hosting a Twitter party on April 9th from 7-10 PM, to trend #BelowTheLine and raise awareness, which is a fun and simple way to get involved.