World Moms Blog Founder Extends Her #BelowTheLine Challenge

World Moms Blog Founder Extends Her #BelowTheLine Challenge

What Could You Buy for $1.50 A Day?

A few months ago, the Live Below the Line of Poverty Challenge contacted World Moms Blog to ask if any of our contributors would like to take their challenge — 5 days of living on $1.50 per day.

According to the World Bank, there are over 1.2 billion people living below the line of extreme poverty in the world, which is defined as living on below $1.25 per day.  The Global Poverty Project is challenging everyone to live on $1.50 per day to advocate for the world’s poorest. They state,

“We run Live Below the Line because we believe to really fight poverty, we’ve got to better understand it.”

Well, I had no idea what I was getting into.  When the request came around cheerleaded by World Moms Blog Senior Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, I joined in because some of our contributors REALLY wanted to do this.  I remember my friend, Holly Pavlika of  MOMentum Nation, completing the challenge several years ago before she left for Tanzania with Shot@Life.  We were at a lunch for a Shot@Life Champion event in NYC, and she declined her lunch and chose to eat 2 boiled eggs instead.  I, on the other hand, chose the salmon and asked if I could sneak her some.  She explained that she wasn’t allowed to take hand outs on the challenge. I was intrigued…

So when the request to live on $1.50 a day came around, I said, “I’ll do it, but just for one day, not five.” Well, here I am on Day 3…

World Moms Blog Editor, Hannah Ashton, suggested that we pool our resources, my $7.50 for 5 days and her $7.50 for 5 days.  The plan was that amount would buy enough food for 5 days, and then for the one day of our challenge we would eat a fifth of the food.

My rations included 1 bag of beans, 2 cups of white rice, 2 cups of flour, 1 small bag of carrots, 3 bananas, 5 packs of instant oatmeal with dried apples and cinnamon, 1 jar of tomato sauce, some green tea bags and two onions.  We had 12 cents left over each, so we justified a pinch of salt and a tiny bit of oil from our kitchens.

I’ve been sharing my experience on my personal Facebook Page, and I’m going to show you what happened:

Live Below the Line Day 1

Live Below the Line Facebook Status 1


Live Below the Line Facebook 2

I had two portions of the beans and onions over rice, thinking that I could “anchor” my stomach by filling it. That evening, I had tea and a banana for dinner.  But, I was so hungry when I went to bed.

Live Below the Line Day 2

The next morning I woke up, and realized that there is actually a lot of things I do for my kids in the morning, including making their breakfast, before I had mine.  I was feeling really hungry while running around and getting the laundry started. When I finally made my way to the kitchen, I realized that my oldest daughter had eaten one of my banana rations. I stopped short.

“Noooooooo!!”, I thought.

But, that’s the point where the transformation began for me.  It wasn’t just about feeling hungry, I  began to think differently.

“So, this is how it feels for a mom living in poverty?”  Her child is hungry, and so is she.  I left the banana out within reach, so there was no time to cut and share it.

Next, I made my instant oats with boiled water.  My children both wanted to try it.  At home, they are used to oatmeal that we mix with flax-seed and a little mini chocolate chips  to sweeten the deal with some milk.  (For me on the challenge, the flax-seed, chocolate chips and milk were too luxurious today.) So, they were curious.  I shared, although my stomach was growling, and since they weren’t doing the challenge, I thought I could direct them to their lovely 5 grain bread and melon.  But, I thought, “Ok, keep it real.  What would a mother in this situation have to do?”  I let them try the oatmeal.  They didn’t like it.  Relief. I gobbled it up.

Live Below the Line Facebook 3

Ok, so I was joking. I really didn’t want to punch Steve, but you know what I mean! He actually wanted to join the challenge at the last-minute, but I told him that I only had rations for one.  Maybe the idea was in my head that this could continue? In the meantime, I had to deal with him eating gourmet pizza, while I was chomping on beans.

So, at this point, I thought, “I’ll do it up through dinner.  I’m hosting book club tonight, and there’s noooo way, I will be able to get through not snacking with my friends.  Book Club is more like “Eat Club”.  I was pretty sure that’s where my journey ended.  Hey, that’s nearly a full day past what I said I’d do, right? But, I guess something in me didn’t want to stop, so I put the request out, “Do you think I should continue?”

One of my friends suggested that she thought I could do it, but why would I want to??  Her question was a pivotal part in my journey.  The challenge was taking a new role.  I spent the morning reflecting:

“I’m understanding in more detail things I have already learned, such as how during a trip to Uganda  with the Shot@Life campaign, we learned that if a father bought a soft drink, that expense meant the family may go hungry. Last night I was just annoyed that my husband mentioned food. How would I have reacted if I was a mother in the situation with the soft drink in places in Uganda?? I’m understanding by feeling instead of just reading and seeing. The places this experience is taking my mind  and my senses is what is keeping me going to want to learn more. I may never know what it’s like to live in extreme poverty, but this challenge is reminding me on another level of why eradicating extreme poverty should be a human priority.

Right now, it’s getting through it and feeling everything, then it will be,  “What can I do about it?”.

Live Below the Line Day 3…

So, last night, I made it through Book Club.  I had beans with onions and tomato sauce over rice for lunch and dinner. I was too hungry to snap a picture beforehand. I had my dinner later in the day, so I wasn’t hungry in the evening when all of the food was out.  My friends were really supportive, nobody held me down and pushed guacamole down my mouth. They had a lot of questions, too.

It wasn’t until my friends left that I began to feel the hunger pangs. I quickly put everything away and left the dishes for the morning.  I went to bed last night thinking, “How do people who make very little money in food service get through their day among all the food?”

 The ability to understand advocacy on another level — feeling — is what has brought me to day 3 of what was supposed to be only a 1 day project.

I plan to continue to Friday for the full 5 day challenge, and also look out for an article about all the World Moms Blog contributors who are taking the challenge with Deborah Quinn from MannaHattaMamma  in the UAE; Hannah Ashton, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama, and Polish Mom Photographer in the USA; Alison Fraser of Mom2Mom Africa in Canada; and Purnima Ramakrishnan of The Alchemist’s Blog in India. I’m curious to hear how the challenge went for them!

World Moms Blog wasn’t expecting to fundraise for the challenge, but after requests from friends on Facebook, we have created a World Moms Blog donation page on the Live Below the Line site.  Donations made to our page there will benefit UNICEF, an organization whose great work I observed in Uganda with the Shot@Life campaign.

Want to have an in-body experience to help the world’s 1.2 billion living below the poverty line? How about joining the Live Below the Line challenge, too?  Plan now to start between April 28th and May 2nd. There are site challenges in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Colombia.

You can help the World Moms Blog contributors with their challenge.  Share this post to help us spread the word about our Live Below the Line challenge!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden in NJ, USA.

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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We’re at Today for #Moms4MDGs!

We’re at Today for #Moms4MDGs!


WMBMDGAs you know we are a global group of mothers, and we care so much for the children of our world and their future. Our children will inherit what we leave behind, so after participating in the United Nations Momentum 1,000 event to mark 1,000 days until the Millennium Development Goal deadline, we decided that we did not want to stop there.

Last month World Moms blog launched an 8 month Millennium Development Goal campaign to continue to raise awareness around each of the 8 Millennium Development Goals known as the MDG’s.

#Moms4MDGs Button copy

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge turned into the eight Millennium Development Goals, and was written as the Millennium Goal Declaration .- United Nations Development Programme

World Moms Blog kicked off the campaign with a twitter party last month that had the voices of change agents chiming in from all over the globe.

Today we spotlight MDG 1 with World Mom Blog editor and contributor Nicole Melancon on . You can then join us in the discussion on MDG 1 at our Twitter party tomorrow night at #Moms4MDGs.

MDG 1 is to “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger” which is why we so fittingly partnered to share this message with, who invites us all to “Join The Fight Against Extreme Poverty”.

The good news about MDG 1 is that the goal has already been met by halving extreme poverty since 1990. The bad news is that according to the most recent MDG Progress report there are still over a billion people in the world living on less than 1.25 dollars a day.

According to the World Bank “The international line of $1.25 a day is the average of the national poverty lines in the poorest 10-20 countries.the average”. Which means there is still a great deal of work to be done.

The second component of MDG 1 is to eradicate Hunger; and according to that same United Nations report 1 in 8 children still go to bed hungry every night; and 1 in 4 of those children facing malnutrition will be stunted in their growth and potential. Our goal with this campaign is to continue to raise awareness and use our collective voices as the mothers of the world to inspire change. Join us at the twitter party tomorrow night, check out Nicole’s blog post today on, and help us keep the momentum going to reach the goals.


MDG1 Twitter Party WMB ONE


Join us on twitter tomorrow and head on over to read World Mom, Nicole Melancon’s, post at! (The link to ONE is now live!)

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Voice Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of “Documama.” 

Photo credits to the author. 

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog,, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid,, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on, Johnson & Johnson’s,,, and Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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