Living On $1.50 A Day Feels Impossible...and It Should

We're not inclined to upload photos of artisan sandwiches to Instagram, but this week we're going all out for good reason. Except there'll be no pictures of arugula or baguettes in sight.

We've taken on the Global Poverty Project's Live Below the Line challenge to spend $1.50 a day on food and drink for five days. This meager sum is the global poverty line delineated by the World Bank and is the amount someone living in extreme poverty in the U.S. would spend on food, drink, transportation, health care and more.

Through these efforts, we're raising funds and awareness for UNICEF, which gives 90 cents for every dollar to fight for health services, gender equity and basic needs for underserved women and children.

So why are we doing this?

At Impact, our page may be bright pink, but some days feel definitively dark. There are mornings when, admittedly, we plan our story budget and we wish we could just swap out the bleak for the blithe. But what keeps us going is knowing that fighting issues like extreme poverty takes extreme action, and we are a space that's dedicated to solutions.

Though we can never replicate extreme poverty, we at Impact are only more compassionate journalists when we empathize with the people we write about. And thinking about the decisions we make when it comes to food makes us realize that the price most of us spend on a sandwich is the same amount we can pay to buy a mosquito net and save a child from contracting malaria.

But before solutions, we start at the beginning -- understanding how we arrived at swapping our standard lunch fare (which, actually, wasn't all that exciting to begin with) for spaghetti and peas.

The $1.50 amount is estimated by averaging the poverty line of the world's 10-20 poorest countries and then standardizing them country-by-country based on domestic food prices, according to the Global Poverty Project.

Poverty is the root cause of so many topics we write about -- lack of access to education, gender inequity, health issues -- conversations that are the cornerstone especially for our Global Motherhood section. This space, dedicated to highlighting the plight of disadvantaged women and children and finding solutions, calls out important news and opinion at a time when, as Former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton puts it, "Women's rights are the 'unfinished business of the 21st century.'"

We are humbled to be able to raise awareness and funds for an organization that supports key issues we care deeply about. It was wholly our personal choice, but we want to fully disclose that we are partners with the UN on a number of campaigns and initiatives.

And Live Below the Line is just that -- an actionable campaign that helps. But of course it's not the ultimate solution. As Charles Kenny wrote in BusinessWeek, ending extreme poverty isn't enough -- people must earn a livable wage. He writes:

"Not until everyone lives on a decent income -- perhaps 10 times what's now considered to be 'extreme' poverty -- should we give up the fight."


Please check out our blog below. We'll be updating daily with photos, thoughts and other items (hopefully) of note. And, if you're interested, learn more about our efforts here.


Check out our discussion on HuffPost Live below.