Launching the 850 Calorie Challenge

Earlier this month, the UNHCR announced it was running out of money for refugees in Africa.

The solution?

Cut refugee camp food rations, in some cases, to just 850 calories per day.

Think about what that means.

I guess every advocacy person has one: that one news item that was just…intolerable.

This one was mine.

It’s simply shocking how little play this story is getting in the press. Intolerable.

So today I’m launching The 850 Calorie Challenge.

The site does what it says on the tin: it challenges you to live on African refugee rations. Even just for one day. Or three.

Or a week.

And then write about it. Tweet about it. Facebook it. Spread the word.

There are hard questions in the development world. This isn’t one of them.

3 thoughts on “Launching the 850 Calorie Challenge”

  1. I’ve been using the 5:2 method since last autumn, where you restrict your energy intake to 600 calories (500 for women) per 24 hours for 2 non-consecutive days every week (I think the rationale here isn’t that you’d damage yourself by going for consecutive days, but that you’d cheat yourself out of a 12 hour period by doing so). I of course have the luxury of choosing what to eat, and I can use however much I want of the “free” stuff like salt, seasonings, coffee et c. And of course I have the biggest luxury of having stored energy to burn! But still, it’s a tiny amount of food per day, and I did get mighty hungry during the first couple of weeks until my body adjusted to it. And what can I say – it’s lost me a good amount of weight.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that you may do well to describe the difference between a permanent rationing of 850 calories per day and the 5:2 method, because at first glance #850Cal may not be all that impressive to a 5:2 dieter, or to someone who has had the method described to them.

    1. Hey, you sound like a good candidate for a 5 day challenge!

      Be sure to make videos. Make them in Swedish! SIDA is a big-time UNHCR donor. They should probably fund at least $100 out of the $186 million Urgent Appeal…

  2. While this is obviously quite bad in the short run, it will hopefully result in some rethinking of how to deal with the refugee situation and food aid in general.

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