The Mutunga Challenge

2 03 2007

Accepting the Mutunga Challenge
The Mutunga $2 challenge has really captured people’s imagination and many around the planet are planning to join us in restricting their food budget to $2/ day for a week. A couple of days ago I was talking to Donna Carter in Calgary Canada about it. She shared with me a conversation she had with Ephraim Lindor, a pastor in Haiti. He told her that in Haiti most people live on $1 per day. “Is that enough to live on?” she asked. “No!” he responded, “but it is enough not to die.”

For many in our world living on $2 per day is not a choice but a necessity. We are grateful therefore at how many have accepted this challenge to identify with sisters and brothers who have so little. People from around the world are grappling with how to cut their food budget for a week in order to identify with and help those less fortunate than us. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed:

1.Make sure that everyone in the family participates in the negotiations revolving around how to spend your week’s budget.
2.Discuss the sacrifices you will need to make and reflect on how to construct a suitable menu. Obviously we will all need to give up expensive food options like dining out, buying prepared and packaged meals and lattes. Fruit juice, milk and other beverages may need to be restricted, but then we all need to drink more water anyway. We may also need to give up time that we usually use for other activities in order to have time to cook meals from scratch.
3.Construct a menu and develop a budget for the whole week before you go shopping.
4.Estimate the value of food you already have in your food cupboard that you plan to use during the week as and subtract that from your week’s budget. The only food that does not need to be included in your budget is fruit and vegetables that you have grown yourself. One of the reasons that rural poverty is often not as devastating nutritionally as urban poverty is because people are able to grow some of their own food to supplement what they need to buy.

Guidelines for Developing a Menu and Shopping List
Here are a few guidelines that will help you plan your menu.

1.Plan a budget based on 25 – 40c each for breakfast, 50 – 75c for lunch and snacks, $1 each for dinner.

2.Prepared meals and processed food is always more expensive than basic staples like rice, potatoes, pasta, legumes and beans. Bulk staples of rice, barley, oats and bulghar wheat are less expensive than packaged versions – find the bulk food section in your local supermarket or visit Whole Foods or an equivalent health food store.

3.Whole grains provide more protein & nutritional value than processed grains. Discover varieties you have never used before like quinoa, couscous & bulghar wheat.

4.Fruit and vegetables are usually cheapest at your local fruit market or Chinese grocery.

5.Meat is probably one of the most expensive food items. Eating vegetarian meals or meals with very little meat will decrease your food budget considerably.

6.Eating fruit and vegetables that are in season and grown locally will be cheaper than those that are out of season or grown in distant places.

7.Leave space in your food budget for a special treat (especially if you have young children). You may like to make some inexpensive cookies at the beginning of the week.

Suggested shopping guide

For 2 adults
For 2 adults & 2 kids
For 2 adults & 3 kids
Oats for oatmeal (porridge)
$1.00
$1.50
$2.00
Rice
$0.50
$1.00
$1.50
Potatoes
$1.00
$2.00
$1.50
Rice noodles
$0 50
$1.00
$1.00
Pasta
$0.50
$1.00
$1.00
Wheat berries
$0.50
$1.00
$1.50
Onions
$1.00
$1.50
$2.00
Carrots
$1.00
$2.00
$2.00
Cabbage
$0.50
$0.50
$1.00
Fruit & salad vegetables
$4.00
$8.00
$10.00
Cheese
$2.00
$4.00
$5.00
Peanut butter
$0.50
$1.00
$2.00
Flour
$1.00
$2.00
$3.00
Chicken
$2.50
$5.00
$7.00
Canned tuna
$0.50
$1.00
$1.50
Bread
$2.00
$3.00
$5.00
Milk
$1.00
$2.00
$2.00
Eggs
$1.00
$2.00
$2.00
Black or kidney beans
$0.50
$1.00
$2.00
Tortillas
$0.50
$1.00
$1.50
Mushrooms
$1.00
$2.00
$3.00
Cookies

$3.00
$4.00
Pasta sauce

$2.00
$4.00
Sour cream
$0.50
$1.00
$3.00
Nuts
$1.00
$1.50
$2.00
Tea or coffee
$1.00
$1.00
$1.50
Oil
$2.00
$2.50
$3.00
Butter or margarine
$1.00
$2.00
$2.00
Salsa
$0.50
$1.00
$1.50

Total
$29.00
$58.00
$75.50

Suggestions for Weekly Menu

Breakfast – Oatmeal or homemade muffins
Lunch – Peanut butter or vegemite sandwiches
– Vegetable or chicken noodle soup made from scratch (can be heated in microwave at work)
Dinner – Phad Thai made with inexpensive rice noodles
– Baked potatoes with cheese & seasonal vegetables
– Pasta with inexpensive tomato based pasta sauce (or make your own)
– Bean burritos with black beans and cheese, salsa, sour cream & green onions. (olives & guacamole are good but may exceed your food budget)
– Fish cakes with rice
– Moroccan couscous with vegetables & harissa sauce
– Spanish rice & beans with fresh salad

Suggested Recipes

Fish Cakes (serves 4)
1 tin of tuna 7 medium potatoes mashed
Breadcrumbs (made from bread supply for the week)
2 chopped onions 2 eggs

Mash it all together – make into small patties then roll again in breadcrumbs and cook in olive oil until golden brown both sides. Serve with fresh salad. If you grow your own herbs add these too.
Cost Total Recipe = $3.50 Per serving = $0.85

Autumn Garden Soup – Vegetarian (15 servings)
1 c Dried Beans, Use Scarlet Runners From Garden 1 c Wheat Berries,
1 c Onion, Chopped 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 T Olive Oil 1 T Sage, Fresh & Chopped
1 lb Tomatoes, Chopped or 14 Oz Can Diced 1 T Rosemary, Fresh & Chopped
1 c Carrot, Peeled & Cut In 1/2″-Chunks 1 lb Cabbage Coarsely Chopped
1/2 lb Green Beans, Trimmed & Cut in 1/2 Lengths 1/4 c Parsley, Chopped
1 t Salt & Ground Pepper to taste 6 c Vegetable Broth
1 c Winter Squash, Chopped 1 c Mushrooms, Chopped

Soak beans and wheat berries in separate bowls overnight. Drain and set aside. Cook dried beans until just tender (45 min – 1 hour). In a large pot or Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, and cook stirring until soft. Add garlic, sage and rosemary. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved wheat berries, tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a simmer cover and simmer until wheat berries are al dente, (1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add cabbage, squash, mushrooms, carrots, green beans and reserved dried beans with their liquid. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender. (15 -20 minutes) Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. [Soup can be adapted to take advantage of whatever vegetables are most plentiful]
Cost Total Recipe = $9.55 Cost Per Serving = $0.64

Phad Thai (5 Servings)
1 lb med. rice noodles 2 T Vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten 2 c fresh bean sprouts
1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 t fish sauce 1/2 c dry roasted peanuts, Chopped
Parsley or cilantro
Cooked shrimp (optional & not included in cost estimate)

Bring water to a boil. Add noodles and turn off water. Let sit 3 minutes; drain and set aside. Heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan. Pour in beaten eggs and cook until firm. Don’t stir. Remove from pan and cut in thin strips. Set aside.

Saute garlic, scallions and bean sprouts in a little vegetable oil. Add fish and oyster sauces and mix well. Add drained noodles and mix again. Add strips of egg and mix. Put on a serving plate and garnish with chopped peanuts, parsley or cilantro and, if desired, cooked shrimp.
Cost Total Recipe = $3.50 Cost Per Serving = $0.70
Pea & Ham Soup (15 servings)
Soak 500g Borlotti Beans (or any other split peas/beans that are cheap) overnight. Saute 1 clove garlic, herbs, 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin in a little margarine. Add 375g frozen peas, ham hock, 5 medium diced potatoes, beans, 6 carrots & corn from 1 corn cob and enough water to make a thick soup. Simmer until vegetable are soft and meat falls away from bones.
Cost Total Recipe = $7.50 Cost per Serving = $0.50

Vegan Moroccan Couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, diced
3 cups vegetable broth 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 turnips, peeled and julienned 1 sweet potato, julienned
1 zucchini, julienned 1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup garbanzo beans, soaked overnight & cooked
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 pinch curry powder
2 cups uncooked couscous

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; saute onion until golden. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in carrots, turnips and sweet potato. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add zucchini and red bell pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in garbanzo beans, tomato sauce, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron and curry powder. Simmer until heated through. Meanwhile, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 to 7 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with vegetables on top.
Cost Total recipe = $8.52 Cost per Serving = $1.07

Carrot Cake
Whisk together 2 eggs, ½ cup sugar,½ cup oil. Sift 1 cup whole wheat flour,½ tspn bicarb soda, 1 tspn mixed spice. Mix in 1½ cups grated carrot(165g) with wet and dry ingredients. Mix well. Bake in greased loaf tin in moderate oven for 50min.
Cost Total Recipe = $2.00 Cost per Serving = $0.35

Advertisements

Actions

Information

3 responses

4 03 2007
Coe Hutchison

We did our planning and shopping today for the Mutanga challenge. This process showed us many things that we would need to change to live an anything close to $2 per person per day.

1. No more shopping at the big, fancy, gourmet grocery stores. Things are much less expensive at places like Albertsons.
2. Absolutely no prepared foods. Plan on cooking everything you eat. No prepared veggies, no canned beans, no prepared soup, no prepared cereals.
3. No meat, better try to find protein another way.
4. Buy the generic brands. No more buying a brand name because it looks nice.
5. Buy in bulk. Things like potatoes and onions were much cheaper when purchased in a very large bag at Costco. This is also true of things like salsa.
6. Very little fresh vegetables. A single green pepper for beans and rice cost $1.29, nearly a whole days food budget.
7. Lots of starch. Starch seems to be the cheapest type of food. Raw starch that is, like beans, flour, rice, potatoes.
We began to work through menus. We are going to be having oatmeal, the old-fashioned kind for breakfast. Raisins and dried apples from our own apple trees to sweeten the oatmeal. Maybe a little sugar, but not much. We might have a breakfast burrito with eggs and a little cheese and salsa. Beans and rice for dinner. We found a recipe where we are using a pound of kidney beans and a small amount of vegetables and good seasonings. We figure the mixture, when complete, will cost about 50 cents a cup. Mix it with a lot of rice, which is real cheap, and it should be okay. Tortillas were cheap, so we might have beans and rice burritos for a change. Baked potatoes with salsa, a little cheese and a little sour cream will definitely be a meal.
Here are some serving size prices we figured out from our shopping trip today. With work we could probably find even a little lower prices.
Potatoes-$0.20 each
Tortillas-$0.10 each (Trader Joes was cheapest)
Kidney beans-$1.39/lb
Oatmeal-$0.08 per cup cooked
Salsa-$0.08 per 2 Tbls serving
Cheese-$0.25 per oz
Sour cream-$0.08 per 2 Tbls serving
Eggs-$0.15 per egg
Peanut butter-$0.14 per 2 Tbls serving
Milk-$0.23 per cup
Onions-$0.20 each
Tea-$0.04 per bag
Sugar-$0.005 per tsp (1/2 cent per teaspoon)
Raisins-$0.22 per ¼ cup
Celery-$0.20 per rib
Green pepper-$1.29
Red bell pepper-$1.66

Finally, the main thing for me will be to simply eat less. That will be good for me, but hard. So there is the first day’s learning and we haven’t even started the eating yet. Boy, those red beans are starting to smell pretty good though.

21 05 2008
Shawn Humphrey

I read about your exercise in poverty on-line and I wanted to share the Two Dollar Challenge (http://www.twodollarchallenge.org/) with you. Each year my students and I participate in a similar exercise in order to raise funds for our microfinance initiatives. Are you planning on conducting the exercise again in the future? If so, I think it would be beneficial to coordinate our efforts. Maybe take the challenge of living on two dollars a day at the same time? This would not only generate more awareness about poverty but also bring in more sponsors. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care. – shawn

18 02 2013
Morris Stuart

Shawn,
I saw your comments and thought to engage. I founded a microcredit/microfinance initiative – The Mutunga Partnership http://www.mutunga.com seven years ago to tackle chronic poverty in Africa. We work in Kenya and since 2006 we have loaned appx. AUD$700,000 to appx 2000 borrowers who have created over 6000 jobs, and consequently lifted upwards of 30,000 people out of poverty in Kenya. The organisation you posted to above joined with us (in Australia) and did the Mutunga $2 Challenge in 2008. The Mutunga Partnership is an Australian-based organisation. I am pleased to see that other organisations are employing The Mutunga $2 Challenge look-alikes to raise funds for micro-credit initiatives. Check out our organisation’s work here: wwwmutunga.com, and our $2 Challenge page.

In July 2013 we are running a $2 challenge campaign Across Australia, in the UK in New Zealand, the US and Canada. Am happy to discuss joining forces.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: