The Challenge

The Two Dollar Challenge is a unique and impactful experiential learning exercise.  However, let’s be honest, living on $2 a day in a wealthy society is not really a challenge.  Having your assumptions, motivations, and methods critically evaluated by a community of your peers is the challenge. Are you up for a Challenge?

The Two Dollar Challenge has 3 Steps:

Step 1: Design your Two Dollar Challenge

Review our Rules and Code of Conduct. Constrain your daily income to two dollars for a set number of days and nights, limit your access to water, clothing, and other preexisting sources of wealth, and participate in 2 discussion nights.

Step 2: Choose a Cause

Select a poverty-related cause – for example, education, microfinance, enterprise development, water, HIV Aids, and environmental justice to name just a few.

Step 3: Choose a Partner

Select a non-profit partner that implements a development program(s) that addresses your cause, raise awareness and funds, and transfer all donations to your chosen non-profit partner.

Already know you want to take on the Two Dollar Challenge?


Visit the Students page to learn about the available resources to make your Two Dollar Challenge a success.


Visit the Instructors page to learn about the resources we have to offer – including, lecture notes, discussion topics, and other resources to facilitate your use of the Two Dollar Challenge in the classroom.

Need a bit more convincing? 

The Two Dollar Challenge has many strengths:

1. Raises Awareness: It is a conversation starter about global poverty.  Every interaction with a participant and a non-participant – whether at the dinner table, on campus, or in the surrounding community – is an opportunity to inform a larger audience about the pervasiveness of poverty and the role of your chosen cause and non-profit partner in eradicating it.

2. Engenders Empathy and Inspires Critical Thinking: Whereas the physical discomforts that attend the Two Dollar Challenge recede when participants return back their wealthy lifestyles, the emotional discomforts linger.  Over the years, participant journal and blog entries have demonstrated that the Two Dollar Challenge succeeds in engendering a deeper sensitivity and awareness concerning the economic lives of the poor.  Visit our Impact Page to review the reflections of past participants.

3. Provides an Opportunity to Act: Although this won’t be the easiest fund-raiser you have ever done, it will be one of the most meaningful and thoughtful. In addition to raising funds the Two Dollar Challenge provides its participants an opportunity to act by partnering with non-profit organizations that are actively engaged in alleviating poverty.

Review pictures and videos of past Two Dollar Challenge events and get a glimpse of what lies ahead for you and fellow participants.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.