The One Week $10 A Day Food Challenge for East Africa

“We cannot let children die. This is the 21st century. ” – Mary Robinson, Oxfam Ambassador & Former Irish President

Some of us on this big, unequal, fragile planet have enough food, and enough discretionary time that we are fortunate enough to luxuriate in it. We exalt food, and more and more of us write about it, photograph it and constantly discuss it among a growing online community.

The current horrific reality for the people of the Horn of Africa could not be more obscenely contrasted.

As someone who participates in that food obsession, I feel a particular responsibility to pay attention to a food crisis, especially when it is on such a devastating scale.

I’m sure you’ve all heard some of the shocking figures about the crisis: 11 million people affected; 500,000 children are at risk of starvation right now. 

I highly recommend reading this interview with Mary Robinson, and watching  this talk by UN World Food Program chief Josette Sheeran.

But if you’ve already donated what more can you do? You’ve only got so much to give, right? Right.

If we think more deeply, however, about food justice, then we can see opportunities to change things permanently in our own lives and lessen food inequalities. Changes such as making better food choices, eating only what we need, not wasting food, and being more aware and respectful.

And for one week, we can convert those changes into dollars for the current crisis in East Africa.

So, join me on my one week $10 A Day Eating Challenge. 

Here’s how it works.

Note, this is just a rough guide, so if you have a household of 3, 4 or more, figure out what a reasonable amount is that is challenging but realistic, while saving money. If you don’t think you can do it on $10, make it $12 – as long as you are changing habits, becoming aware and raising some funds, that’s all that matters.

I’m starting this tomorrow (Sunday 31 July). You can start with me, or do it whenever you’re ready. And by all means, do two weeks if you can.

1. Estimate how much you spend on food and drink (include alcohol) in a week.

2. Put aside $10/day to live on for a household of up to two.

3.  At the end of the week, subtract 2. from 1. above, and donate the difference to a Horn of Africa famine appeal.

Some things to think about:

  • Plan your meals in advance and shop accordingly.
  • Think about curbing social activities, or doing them differently (instead of meeting out for drinks, have drinks at someone’s home with everyone bringing something)
  • Use what’s already in your cupboards and don’t buy what you don’t need.
  • Instead of doing one trip to the supermarket and blowing your entire week’s budget, go to a market if you can and buy what’s on special.
  • Stock up on some basics like lentils, rice, onions, potatoes and tins of tomatoes.
  • Make coffee at home, rather than buying it out.
  • Take your lunch to work
  • Follow my blog and Facebook page for tips on what to cook
  • Share your progress and food saving tips here or on my Facebook page.

For your donation:

What else you can do:


One thought on “The One Week $10 A Day Food Challenge for East Africa

  1. louisabellissima July 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm Reply

    I added the banner to my blog and I find it very reassuring to read your post and see some things that I have already been doing and others that I will definitely adapt. For some reason I have always told my children about the children in Africa, whenever I felt that their wishes and demands were going the way of uncontrolled consumerism. There were always friends who had the whole catalogue of toys and trendy merchandising gimmicks and of course my children used that as an argument to tell me they want to have the same. I want them to grow up an appreciate the basic things in life, like clean water, food, free education, a family (so many children in Africa are orphans) and a home. It is so sad to see all this desperation in our world and it makes us feel so helpless. As you said we can only donate so much, but hopefully by being grateful for what we have and by using all our resources to fight hunger and injustice in our world we will be a good example for our children and they will grow up to do the same. Sorry for the long comment, all I actually wanted to say is: I love your post.

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