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LBL: Tokenistic or Life Changing?

March 1, 2012

How much change can you make from £1 a day?

That is the slogan you will be seeing on the posters of the Live Below The Line campaign. It forces us to question the value and the effectiveness of the campaign.

Some people have said they think the challenge is tokenistic. Other have said it’s life-changing. Well, I’ll only really be able to tell you afterwards. But if you asked me right now, do I think it’s tokenistic? No. I honestly don’t.

Some of you may not be convinced. I’ve been asked countless times ‘what good will it do?’ To which I respond, ‘what harm will it do?’ What do you have to lose by trying it? I personally think there is a lot to gain.

The value of this challenge may not be obvious when you are first confronted with it. It wasn’t obvious to me at first. But how many times have you been stopped in the street and asked to donate some spare change into a bucket for charity? It’s happened to me twice this week. Ask yourself this, can you even remember the name of the charity you gave the donation to? Do you know what cause they were fundraising for? Water sanitation? Breast cancer? The elderly? Did you learn anything new about the cause by donating your spare change? More often than not the answer will be no. It’s happened to me countless times. In almost a daze, I will reach into my purse and donate my spare change into the bucket without even really registering I have done it, let alone who the charity was and who the money was benefiting.

Live Below The Line is different because it really encourages people to engage with the issue of global poverty. RESULTS UK believes the world has the resources, skills and know-how to end hunger and extreme poverty. What is missing is the commitment to make this happen. By taking part in Live Below The Line people are more likely to form a long-term commitment to the issue of global poverty.

To make a real change to poverty, we first need to understand it. The best way to understand it is to experience it for ourselves. Live Below The Line gives us this opportunity.

We are all very knowledgeable about global poverty. We recognise it when we see it, and we sympathise with those suffering at its hands. But only by experiencing it for ourselves can we gain real empathy.

While I hope to raise £500 while taking part in Live Below The Line, I would much prefer to get as many people involved as possible, since the power of this campaign is not the fundraising, but in the experience.

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