850 Calorie Challenge




On the internet you may find a challenge which thousands of people have to face every day, day in day out.

The number of crises around the world is far outpacing the level of funding for humanitarian operations, and vulnerable refugees in critical operations are falling through the cracks. It is unacceptable in today’s world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger or that their children drop out of school to help families survive.

English: Logo of the UN World Food Programme i...The World Food Programme’s dramatic cuts to refugee rations in Africa has received almost no coverage in Western media.

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...Two UN agencies put out a joint press release, one or two papers picked it up, and then nothing happened.

So nobody’s even heard about it.

Severely malnourished refugee children from the Central African Republic at a feeding centre in Batouri hospital, Cameroon.

As the World Food Programme ruefully concludes,African refugee camps no longer attract global awareness.”

That makes it easy for politicians to ignore the UN’s urgent appeal.

African refugees are some of the most invisible people in the world. So invisible, people don’t even react when the UN announces it has no money to keep them from starving.

But you can change that!

Speak Out for Refugees in Africa

  • Darfur Chart 2.005Link to 850Calories.com on your social media.
  • Share this UNHCR video on Facebook.
  • Tweet about it with the hashtag #850Cal
  • Talk to your friends about it.
  • Tell your teachers about it.
  • Tell your students about it
  • Make the kind of noise that leads to results.

And when you’re ready

Take the Challenge!

Join us in finding out what it’s like to live on 850 calories a day for just one day. 850 calories is not just not enough for a day…if you’re an active adolescent, it’s not enough for a meal.  What’s shocking is that this is probably more nutritious than what refugees in Chad get in their rations.

Chronicle your experience.

Blog about it. Tweet about it.

Tell all your friends. Let the world know.

Make it count!

  1. Live on the kinds and amounts of food a refugee at a UN Camp in Eastern Chad lives on for just one day.
  2. See rule 1.

Then tell everyone about it.

How much food are we talking about, really?

In Chad, the daily ration work out to:

  • 3/4ths of a cup of grain sorghum or millet (depending on what’s available locally)
  • Two tablespoons of mature seeed lentils,
  • Just under two tablespoons of cooking oil
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • One teaspoon salt

RationsAfter cooking, it comes to about three small bowls of food.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner – yum!

(You can also add more water to bulk it up and fool yourself into thinking it’s more food – not that it really helps.)


Please do find: Central African Republic Revised Regional Refugee Response Plan July 2014


  • #850calories (developmentintern.com)
    an estimated 800,000 – in a lot of countries, living on less than half their recommended daily calorie intake (for reference, average recommended calorie intakes are 1,000-1,400 for children under 5, 2,000 for adult women, and 2,500 for adult men).
    As has been well documented in the UNHCR’S three-part Tracks blog series, lack of food availability has devastating consequences for refugees, who respond to such crises by utilising ‘negative coping strategies’. These strategies may include turning to forms of dangerous and exploitative labour such as prostitution, selling off of assets such as livestock, unsustainably over-exploiting natural resources such as firewood, and removing children from education in order to generate more income.
  • Food rations slashed for 800,000 African refugees: UN (modernghana.com)
    Nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa have had their food rations slashed due to a lack of global aid funding, threatening to push many to the brink of starvation, the UN warned on Tuesday.The cuts of up to 60 percent are “threatening to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anaemia, particularly in children,” the United Nations’ World Food Programme and refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.

    The situation was not much better for some 150,000 refugees in Central Africa or in South Sudan, where supplies had also been cut by at least half, while another 338,000 refugees in Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Ghana, Mauritania and Uganda had seen their rations dwindle up to 43 percent, the UN agencies said.

    In addition, a series of unexpected, temporary ration reductions, sometimes due to insecurity, had hit camps in several countries since early 2013, including Kenya, Ethiopia, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

    “The number of crises around the world is far outpacing the level of funding for humanitarian operations, and vulnerable refugees in critical operations are falling through the cracks,” said Guterres.

  • UNHCR seeks $210m in revised appeal for refugees from Central African Republic (unhcr.org)
    On Tuesday UNHCR together with 16 other humanitarian agencies revised the Regional Refugee Response Plan for the CAR situation, seeking US$210 million to assist the growing refugee numbers in four asylum countries Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of Congo until the end of the year.The new appeal figure is lower than the initial $274 million sought in April due to fewer-than-projected refugee arrivals in the DRC and the exclusion of returnees in Chad covered in the first appeal. However the needs have grown in Cameroon, where the majority of refugees are arriving, with $111 million requested in the revised plan almost double what was initially requested. Less than one-third of the revised plan has been funded so far.

    More than 357,000 people have fled CAR for the four host countries since the crisis started in December 2012. This number includes some 160,000 people who left after clashes intensified between the Seleka alliance and anti-Balaka militia in December 2013. Of those who fled in the last seven months the majority of them Muslims over 118,000 are in Cameroon, 17,500 in Chad, over 15,000 in the DRC and 9,000 in the Republic of Congo.

  • Recent Attacks in Nigeria prompt new refugees to Cameroon, more continue to arrive (unhcr.org)
    Recent attacks from insurgent groups in the north east of Nigeria has prompted thousands of Nigerians to find refuge in Cameroon in the past 10 days, with some newly arrived refugees sleeping on the ground in schools and churches and children suffering poor health. UNHCR is very concerned that even once they have crossed into Cameroon, they are still being pursued by insurgents and we have already started to relocate some of the refugees to a refugee camp where they can enjoy safer conditions.According to authorities, in the last ten days at least 9,000 people have arrived in Cameroon’s Far North Region, more than 2,000 sought refuge in Niger, and more people continue to arrive. The new arrivals fled recurrent attacks in the past three weeks in the Gwoza area in Nigeria’s Borno State, before reaching safety in Cameroon. Authorities report that 5,500 refugees have arrived in Kolofata, 3,000 in Kerawa and 370 in Mora, in the Mayo Sava and Logone-et-Chari districts. However, even upon arrival in Cameroon, they are not necessarily out of harm’s way. On Sunday, insurgents attacked Kerawa town inside Cameroon, forcing refugees and some local residents to flee further inland.
  • The Food Crisis in South Chad (independent.com)
    Although the estimates of the food rations that the refugees receive do not all jibe, it is clear that there are serious shortages with serious consequences and no miracle that will set things straight in sight. Moreover, the nearly 100,000 returnees are generally in worse shape than the refugees and are dependent on many of the same resources. And the large numbers of new refugees place additional strain on the limited supply of land, tools, and seeds. Hunger eats away at all activities, including work and school.We were told several versions of the current food ration, the consensus being that the refugees are receiving somewhere between 21 percent and 40 percent of the international standard set by the UN (2,100 calories per person per day). The deprivations were said to be worse for the nomadic refugees and for girls. Whatever the version, unless substantial improvement takes place by September 2014, our contacts agree widespread malnutrition and death are likely to occur.

    In several returnee camps, vouchers rather than food are distributed. The vouchers, equivalent to 4000 CFA (or $8) per person per month, can be traded for food at local markets at prices fixed by the government. Merchants can cash the vouchers with the government. Everyone agrees that the amount of food that can be purchased with 4000 CFA/month is totally inadequate.

  • African refugees face cuts in rations as funding runs low – UN (trust.org)
    The U.N. refugee agency needs $39 million for its nutrition support to refugees across the continent reeling from conflicts.”The appeal today is a very concrete appeal for the most dramatic of the situations, the African situation, because it is the most forgotten,” said Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

    “As you have seen, 450,000 refugees in Africa today are living with less than 50 percent of the normal ration. And this is something that is not acceptable,” he said.

    Desperate families fleeing South Sudan are still crossing into Ethiopia and Sudan, and people escaping Central African Republic arrive in Cameroon in a “desperate state”, he said.

  • New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa (irinnews.org)
    The funding shortfall is not the result of shrinking budgets for either WFP or UNHCR, but a substantial increase in the need for food assistance generated by an unprecedented number of refugee emergencies in 2014. “The amount of large-scale, simultaneous emergencies has never been so high to the best of my memory,” said Paul Spiegel, UNHCR’s deputy director of programme support and management, speaking to IRIN from Geneva.Out of a global figure of 11.7 million refugees under UNHCR’s protection at the end of 2013, the highest number since 2001, 3.3 million live in Africa.

    “There has also been a lot of earmarking [by donors] for certain situations, particularly the Syrian situation,” he added. “Some situations, particularly CAR, have been severely under-funded so there is an equity issue here that needs to be dealt with. Protracted refugee situations have also not had the same level of funding.”

  • Starvation Real Threat in Central African Republic (netnewsledger.com)
    Starvation is a looming reality for many people in the Central African Republic. The call is out from the United Nations for immediate aid.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
This entry was posted in B4Peace, Poverty, Thoughts of others, Welfare and Health, World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 850 Calorie Challenge

  1. Marcus Ampe says:

    Having not a good health it will not be all right for me to take up this challenge, but I do hope I can send forward the message, and shall do my effort to limit intake of food for some days, controlling everything with my glucometer.


  2. carolburbank says:

    Reblogged this on Lead Me On and commented:
    So, here’s a leadership challenge — awaken knowledge by learning through doing, by walking a bit in someone else’s shoes and nutritional limitations! The 850 calorie/day challenge (eat only 850 calories, the amount starving refugees must live on, for only ONE day) is far superior to the ice bucket challenge, so popular lately in social media. It wastes less water, and asks us to directly experience (as much as possible) the food crisis taking place all around us. In the privileged first world, we are all potential leaders, more comfortable (and less involved, for the most part) than our comfort merits! And it’s ironic — many of my friends, needing to lose weight, are going on a 700 a day 10-day diet, with expensive supplements and shakes and support groups! I’m definitely going to take this challenge. Will you? I wonder what leadership initiatives it might awaken, what new awareness?


  3. carolburbank says:

    Thank you for forwarding this challenge! I reblogged your post, and I’m going to do it. I’ll let you know what I learn.


  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    The vast majority of us reading this post by Marcus Ampe may not even consider the calories in a meal unless trying to lose weight. It is more about the taste, texture and the aroma. 850 calories is less than half the daily requirement for an adult man or woman and for a child that is growing it is totally inadequate. I think what also needs to be added to the equation is not how many calories we are eating each day, usually more than our specific body requires, but the amount of calories that are thrown into the bin across the western world each day. Billions of dollars and £’s is wasted annually. One of my real issues with television programmes both in the USA and UK is the times you see a family eating a meal from breakfast through to dinner and leaving platefuls. Nobody seems to finish a damn meal and it is subliminal conditioning for us adults but more importantly for the children and teenagers watching. Have a smaller portion and a spoonful more if you want it. But do not pile your plate high and then throw half away. We might not be able to cure the world’s starvation problems but we can at the very least respect the food that we are lucky to have access to.


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