By Francis Ngwa Niba with reports from Christina Ty Adegbaju in Lagos Nigeria and Sylvester Munanjala Jr in Lusaka Zambia.
Poverty figures from around the world, that is people living on less than $1 a day are staggering; 13% of China’s 1.4 billion people, 45.5% in Sub saharan Africa, 14% in East Asia and 6.5 % in Latin America.
In total, some 1.4 billion people around the world are forced through poverty, to live on less than $1 a day. The Hunger Project, a UK based charity decided to engage people to live on a meagre £1 a day budget for five days to see how challenging it is to live below the poverty line.
A pound is slightly above one dollar in value but the experiences of people living on less than a pound a day are similar to those surviving on less than a $1 a day.
London based Volunteer Tascha Thompson recorded her experiences on day 4 of the eye opening campaign;
“I didn’t get to eat until 6pm last night and I made sure I had my breakfast this morning.
Yesterday taught me that if you’re living on £1 a day, eat what you can when you can, you just don’t know when your next meal is coming”.
Tascha is one of the dozens of people who joined the campaign
The aim of the project is to get volunteers to raise money that The Hunger Project, uses to help hungry people in the worst affected areas around the world.
This is what made Londoner Tascha Thompson to become a volunteer
“ In today’s world, extreme poverty and inequality are unjustifiable and unfair. Live Below the Line demonstrates the problem in a concrete way, while raising money to address the problem”.
Tascha raised £250 for her troubles, £50 above her target.
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is the first of the 8 Millennium development goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000 with a 2015 set date to achieve the goal. In February 2012, the UN declared it had reached the goal early. The population of people living on less than $1 a day had been halved from 31% in 1990 to 14% in 2008.
However, like all goals that the UN and other development agencies adopt, figures are averages. Millions of people will live below the poverty line whatever happens.
Although famine is common across Africa, international aid agencies make a lot of assumptions concerning the continent. They usually fail to accept that sometimes, some people across Africa enjoy a better standard of living than people in the West with their simple lifestyles.
When UN figures show that the greatest number of hungry people on earth, 45.5% to be exact are in Sub-Saharan Africa, is it a case of “giving a dog a bad name to hang it?” Why does the world pick on Africa all the time? Poverty is evident in Africa but so is the case in every other continent. The global figures do not show how creative Africans are in surviving with the little they have.
Also, standards of living cannot be measured in monetary terms every time. A Nigerian, A Zambian or a Tanzanian, can live a comfortably life on less than a dollar a day if they have a garden at home, a farm where they harvest most of their daily food rations and sometimes can exchange some of these for other necessities like oil and sugar.
We asked people in Nigeria and Zambia if it was technically possible for them to live on less than $1 dollar a Day. Their answers are thought provoking.