1.1 billion people live on less than one dollar a day and half of the world's population survives on less than 2 dollars a day
Our Questions: How do people survive on such little money and what solutions exist to help?
As tends to be the case with most great ideas, this project was born in a bar. Emboldened with some liquid creativity and bravery, we concocted a plan to try and put ourselves in poverty, film it, and share our experience and findings with our friends. The plan wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t want perfection to stand in the way of action.
We knew there was no way we could ever replicate the level of hardship experienced by the extreme poor, but we wanted to try and simulate two key aspects of it.
1. The poor often don’t know when they are going to get paid. Their incomes are unpredictable. So instead of giving ourselves a dollar every morning, we took our total budget for the summer, 56 dollars each, split it into random incomes for each day and drew them out of a hat every morning. Whatever number we picked, that was the money we got.
2. The extreme poor are constantly using financial instruments. So we took out a small loan of 125 dollars at the start of the summer, to pay for our big-ticket items like the renting of a house, seed and fertilizer, and a plot of land to grow radishes on. Every two weeks we paid off installments of this loan with interest, using our dollar a day budget.
What is Next:
With the goal of educating others to the reality of living on a dollar a day and helping to contribute to a solution through microfinance fundraising, we are using short video-blogs and a documentary to connect to our peers and inspire our generation to confront its great challenge: To End Extreme Poverty
We have all the necessary tools -- the creativity, passion, time, and the resources of our schools -- to design new innovative solutions to global poverty.
Our research and time in Guatemala demonstrated that Microfinance organizations are helping poor families better their lives by providing reliable and flexible financial (Savings and loans) services. Microfinance is meeting a need, but there is no one solution to poverty; believing that there is will only breed apathy and inaction.
We ask our viewers not to hide from poverty and feel ashamed by it, but feel empowered that there are solutions and that you can do something to help.
As Economics majors, the question that drove our research was: What financial services do the extreme poor use to survive?
For our research, we followed the development of 8 families/entrepreneurs in the town of Peña Blanca as they faced the complexity of the financial reality that confronts them, using Portfolio's of the Poor financial diaries as a model.
We were exploring everything from family size, to education levels, asset wealth, in flows and outflows of capital and lastly the instruments that people use to manage their money.
Fundraising for Microfinance
Our goal is to raise $100,000 dollars, of which 100% will support Fonkoze and Grameen Guatemala, Whole Planet Foundation's microfinance partners in Haiti and Guatemala, who desperately need support to rebuild and improve services since the recent earthquake in Haiti and massive mudslides in Guatemala. Fonkoze and Grameen are the largest microfinance institutions in Haiti and Guatemala and target the poorest of the poor.
Follow and Learn alongside us
- Email: Livingononedollar@gmail.com
- Twitter: @LivingonOne
- Facebook Group: Living on One Dollar