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Living on Less than $1.60 a Day

Over one billion people live in extreme poverty, which means they live on the equivalent of $1.60 Canadian per day. This is a very small amount of money to live on! In this activity, you will try to create a food budget for a family using $1.60 per person per day.

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  • Are there people living in extreme poverty in Canada?  
  • How will you find the prices of food in your city? 
  • What causes extreme poverty? 


  • Start by dividing up into “families” of 4-6 people. Now calculate your budget. Your budget will be $1.60 x 7 days x the number of people in your group.  
  • Start by creating a list of all the food you think your family will need in one week. Use grocery store flyers to find the price of all the food.  
  • Once you have your list, add up the prices to find your total.  
  • Is your total within your budget for the week? Will you be able to buy everything you need? 
  • Remember that you are only including food in your budget right now. A real budget might need to include housing, transportation, water, electricity, medicine, and school fees. Do you think you would be able to buy everything you need? 


  • Do you think someone living on $1.60 a day would be able to buy everything they need? 
  • What organizations are working to help people living in extreme poverty? 
  • How might living in extreme poverty affect your access to healthcare and education? 
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


  • Paper and pencil 
  • Grocery store fliers 

Keep it Simple

You can also choose to complete this activity together as one large group. Pretend you are creating a budget for a family of five. This means your budget will be $56 for the week. 

Take it Further

There are many people who do not know a lot about extreme poverty because it often happens far away where we do not see it. Create posters to educate people about extreme poverty and what they can do to help.