LessWrongers who like GiveWell recommended charities may be interested in taking part in or donating to a new fundraiser called Experience Poverty. As well as deworming hundreds of children, it's an unusually good opportunity to find people who are interested in cost-effective charity and start conversations with them - something it's rare to find an excuse to do. Dozens of people and many effective altruist groups around the world are going to take part. Here are the details:
Why: Half of the world spends $2.50 or less on food each day. This reflects income levels at which people often can’t afford basic health care. All money raised goes to buy medicines that cost only 50 cents. It is so cheap to us, but people still cannot afford it.
Who: People who want to do something to help the global poor and get a sense of what poverty's like.
When: April 22-24, 2015. If those dates don’t work for you you can set your own. For example, if you're at a US university you can choose to do it on April 6-8, when some American college groups are doing it.
What you can vary: Any of this: the amount you spend, the number of days and the date. For example, see below for the ‘challenge mode’ of spending only $1.50.
How: Sign up via these links for the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden and the Eurozone. Then ask friends and family to sponsor you. We’ll send you guides, pointers, and we can even do a one-on-one Skype to help you help the most people possible. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Experience Poverty Skype” as the subject line.
Left: What a typical American family eats in a week. Right: What a typical family in Chad (an African country) eats in a week.
Where does the money go? SCI
How do you join? - Click Here
Or you can just donate to the campaign! 50 cents gives a treatment to a child, so just $20 treats 40 children.
What could you possibly eat for only $2.50 a day?
Not much. But that’s kind of the point. It’s to get a sense of how limiting $2.50 is. It’s like running a marathon for charity, but a lot more related.
However, it’s not all abstinence. (That’s reserved for the people taking the challenge mode who will spend only $1.50 a day.) Here’s a few cheap meals people have tried in the past:
- Rice, beans, and spices or soy sauce
- Butternut squash pasta
- Ramen noodles (always a guilty pleasure anyway)
- Oatmeal with chopped banana
- Starbucks or buying coffee out
- Alcoholic drinks
What are the rules?The spirit of the event involves getting a (very rough) experience of poverty, and to ultimately make it so that fewer people have to have similar experiences. As long as it is done in this spirit, do what works for you. If you need to spend a bit more money, you can set your own amount. If you can’t do it on April 22-24, do a different time. If you lapse during your three days, it’s OK. You might even want to mention it on Facebook, talking about how difficult it was. It will help people understand how hard poverty is.
Half of the world lives on less than $1,368 a year. Around 65% of that is spent on food, which means $2.43 a day. We rounded to $2.50 a day because round numbers are nicer, but you can spend only $2.43 if you’d like.
You might have traveled to a poor country and know that you can buy more for $2.50 overseas. This is a good point, which is why the $2.43 figure is adjusted to how much $2.43 could buy in the USA in 2005. That’s not much. Now imagine that you have to use the remaining $1.75 per day on shelter, transport, healthcare, and entertainment. That’s why we’re running this campaign. Because that’s just too little and we want to change it.
Challenge Mode: live on $1.50Yawn. $2.50? You already did that in college. Well worry not my frugal friend, there is a challenge mode! $1.50 a day is roughly the international poverty line, so why not try to live on only that for 3 days?
Why do the challenge mode?
- People raise more when they suffer more. Yes, they did a study on this, and yes, people are strange creatures.
- You’ll get a better sense of what extreme poverty is like.
- You’ll get an e-high five from the Experience Poverty team.
What if I live outside the US?We have separate pages with different currencies for the following countries:
email us to see if we can add your country. Donations are tax-deductible in the US and Canada and SCI will get GiftAid in the UK.