WWU to Participate in Rwanda ‘Two Dollar Challenge’

Few people in the United States could live on $2 a day, but on April 20, that is exactly what William Woods University students, faculty and staff will attempt to do.


This event, known as the “Two Dollar Challenge,” aims to raise awareness of poverty and the physical and emotional struggles that accompany it. It will be conducted as part of the on-going Rwanda Community Partnership Project.  


Earlier this year, WWU joined forces with Westminster College and the city of Fulton in “partnering” with Kibungo Town/Ngoma District in Rwanda. The project affords great benefits to both communities, offering opportunities for education, travel, service-learning projects and class interactions.


Throughout the year, the Office of Academic Service-Learning has been coordinating efforts at WWU to raise awareness of the poverty and disease that plague other countries. The eventual goal is to raise enough money to fund construction of a Women and Children’s Clinic in the Kibungo community.


The entire campus has gotten into the challenge, and has tried to raise both awareness and money through a variety of ways—the Registrar’s office recently held an Easter event called “Time to Get Crackin’,” during which they sold Easter eggs with chances at prizes for $2 each. This event raised $150 for the project.


Cassie Davis, WWU academic service-learning coordinator, is a member of both the Rwanda Community Partnership Project Executive Committee and the Westminster/William Woods Co-Collegiate Rwanda Project Committee. She hopes that the Two Dollar Challenge will raise the awareness of global poverty.


According to Davis, the event challenges students, campus organizations, faculty and staff to live on just $2 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. April 20.


Participants are encouraged to adhere to a number of unofficial rules designed to expose them to the many ways in which poverty can manifest itself to people with a limited income. These rules include things such as carpooling or walking rather than driving places, eating meals that cost less than the allotted $2 and making an effort to conserve water, paper and energy.   


“At the end of the event, everyone should have a better idea of the restraints of living in such poverty,” said Davis, who would like to make the Two Dollar Challenge an annual event.


The idea for the Two Dollar Challenge came from Shawn Humphrey, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington, and was adopted by Gregory Rockson, a Westminster College freshman from Ghana, West Africa.


“Westminster is doing it more as a fundraiser by making it into a competition; we’re doing it more as an awareness event. However, people are welcome to give if they want to, and are encouraged to donate the difference between their $2 and what they would spend on a normal day,” said Davis.


The event will conclude with the showing of a film to further the discussion of HIV/AIDS and the poverty affecting the continent of Africa. The film will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Library Auditorium, and both participants and others are welcome to attend.


For more information on the Two Dollar Challenge or WWU’s participation in the Rwanda Community Partnership Project, contact Cassie Davis at (573) 592-1198 or cassie.davis@williamwoods.edu