Live Below the Line

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Live Below the Line is an annual anti-poverty campaign, which challenges participants to feed themselves on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for five days.[1]

The goal of Live Below the Line is to raise widespread awareness by enabling participants to gain a small insight into some of the hardships faced by those that live in extreme poverty.

Live Below the Line also raises money for poverty reduction projects across the globe.[2]

The campaign began in Melbourne, Australia in 2010 and has since spread to the UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada, and Colombia.[3][4] In 2012 the campaign ran from 4 May to 8 May in Australia, and 27 April to 1 May in the UK and USA.[5] It launched in New Zealand September.[6]


The concept of Live Below the Line was born in the back yard of a Melbourne share house by two friends - Rich Fleming and Nick Allardice - over a few drinks one evening in late 2009. Both were passionate about fighting poverty, and had already been doing so for a number of years - but together they were worried at our ability to really understand at an emotional level the realities of extreme poverty.

One was from the Global Poverty Project, one from the Oaktree Foundation - and together they plotted the creation of a campaign that could simultaneously help tens of thousands of Australians begin to understand and connect with the issue of extreme poverty whilst also providing a platform for creating incredible change for the worlds' poor.

Seeing an incredible opportunity to engage huge numbers of people with the realities of extreme poverty whilst also achieving really substantial and significant outcomes in anti-poverty initiatives, they came together to create Live Below the Line.

Live Below the Line was officially born in June 2010, with the first campaign running from August 2–6. In its first year alone all expectations were exceeded, with over 2000 people participating, raising over $520,000.[7] By 2015 that amount had risen to $1,605,506.[8]

The Live Below the Line challenge has been taken by a number of international celebrities, including actors Hugh Jackman, Ben Affleck,[9] Tom Hiddleston, and singer Josh Groban.[10] Within Australia, the challenge has been taken by Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten,[11] former Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan,[12] actors Stephen Curry and Rhiannon Fish, Masterchef Australia winners Julie Goodwin and Kate Bracks,[13] musicians Lindsay McDougall and Sarah McLeod, radio hosts Alex Dyson and Veronica Milsom,[14] and 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon.

Organizations behind the campaign[edit]

Global Poverty Project[edit]

The Global Poverty Project is an international education and advocacy organization working to catalyse the movement to end extreme poverty. The Global Poverty Project exists to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty, to ensure that the world eliminates extreme poverty within a generation.

Using the world-class multimedia presentation 1.4 Billion Reasons, Global Poverty Project is raising awareness of our ability to end extreme poverty and demonstrate how every person can contribute to the end of extreme poverty. Global Poverty Project's mission is to inspire and empower everyday people in workplaces, schools, universities, churches and communities around the country to become leaders in the global movement to end extreme poverty.[15]


The Oaktree Foundation is Australia's first and largest youth-run aid organisation. Entirely run by young volunteers under the age of 26, Oaktree has over 150,000 members around Australia and has led some of Australia’s biggest poverty campaigns – including the 2006 MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY Concert in Melbourne, and the Roadtrip mobilisations in 2007 and 2010 which succeeded in securing a bipartisan commitment to increasing foreign aid.

Oaktree sees education as the key to enabling the worlds’ poorest individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty. As a result, Oaktree works across the Asia Pacific region – in places like East Timor, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea – to build schools, train teachers, and provide scholarships so that young people have access to quality education.[16]

How the line is calculated[edit]

In 2005 the World Bank defined the Extreme Poverty Line as $1.25 US a day - that is, someone would be considered to live in extreme poverty if they lived on an amount equivalent to somebody living in the United States, buying United States goods with US$1.25 a day. In 2011 (taking into account inflation and purchasing power), the equivalent amounts for the United States, Australia and United Kingdom are US$1.50, A$2 and £1 respectively.

The figure is determined by translating the 2005 figure into a local currency figure (using purchasing power parity) and then accounting for inflation since the 2005 date. A more detailed explanation of how the Australian figure was arrived at is available on the Global Poverty Project's site.[17]


Funds raised in the first Live Below the Line campaign are being used to fight poverty through education initiatives in the developing world and education and advocacy projects in Australia.[18]

Oaktree has invested over $400,000 into its international partnership work in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. In particular this means:

  • Opening a primary school in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, by providing scholarships for 8 locals to be trained as teachers at a nearby university and then return to teach.
  • Building and refurbishing three secondary schools in the poorest provinces of Cambodia.
  • Ongoing and systematic teacher training for teachers in each new Cambodian school.
  • Hundreds of scholarships each year to each school, allowing the poorest and most disadvantaged students to gain an education for the first time.
  • Piloting a new model of public-private partnership to run the schools to an extremely high standard, and providing a model for other schools in Cambodia to emulate.

This means that thousands of young people are getting access to an education for the first time - providing them with a means to lift themselves out of poverty.

The Global Poverty Project are using funds raised to empower a new generation of anti-poverty advocates within Australia:

  • Training 25 inspiring role models from around the country to deliver the world-class educational presentation 1.4 Billion Reasons in schools - letting students know what extreme poverty is, and how it can be ended within a generation, and
  • Providing students at 400 Australian schools with the knowledge and resources they need to become leaders in the movement to end extreme poverty.

The Global Poverty Project's education work will empower tens of thousands of Australian students, building the social movement required to see an end to extreme poverty within a generation, and supporting the change required to alter the systems that perpetuate extreme poverty.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Could you live on $2 a day for five days?". Live Below The Line. 
  2. ^ "What We Do". Live Below The Line. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Live below the line". Retrieved 2015-09-13. 
  5. ^ "LIVE BELOW THE LINE FOR THE GLOBAL POVERTY PROJECT". 2012. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "Live Below the Line: About". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  8. ^ "Could you live on $2 a day for five days?". Live Below The Line. 
  9. ^ "Ben Affleck Will Live on $1.50 a Day". Retrieved 2015-09-13. 
  10. ^ "Exclusive: Alicia Quarles: My Journey Living Below the Line". Retrieved 2015-09-13. 
  11. ^ Bill Shorten [@billshortenmp] (7 May 2014). "2 minute noodles for lunch (and dinner) am on the #LiveBelowtheLine $2 challenge today" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  12. ^ Wayne Swan (8 May 2011). "WAYNE SWAN Live Below The Line" – via YouTube. 
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^ "Local Musicians & Triple J Presenters Live Below The Poverty Line For Charity". 15 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Global Poverty Project". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  16. ^ "Oaktree Foundation". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  17. ^ "AU: Live Below the Line - Why $2?". Global Poverty Project. 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  18. ^ "Live Below the Line: Our Impact". Retrieved 2011-04-25.