Skip to content

MP's diet challenge focuses on world's poor

A Christian MP from Glasgow is among those taking part in Tearfund's Mean Bean Challenge, to help highlight the plight of the world's poorest people ...

Carol Monaghan, the MP for Glasgow North West, is committing to a diet of a handful of rice and beans to experience life like millions of the world’s poorest people and raise awareness of the work of Christian charity Tearfund.

Ms Monaghan, who is the SNP’s education spokesperson, is taking part in Tearfund’s Mean Bean Challenge, living off a small amount of porridge, plain rice and plain beans a day, to highlight the plight of those in developing countries who have to survive on the same subsistence-level diet.

The former physics teacher will join hundreds of people across the country doing the Mean Bean challenge to raise money for the international development agency.

Ms Monaghan said: "I'm doing the Mean Bean challenge because I think it's a really tangible way of connecting with the harsh realities of poverty that millions of people face every day. I am sure living on so little food will be difficult for me, but many people have no choice.

“It's a privilege to do this challenge to support Tearfund and the work they do in more than 50 countries around the world – including in East Africa where we are seeing famine taking hold."

More than 800 people across the UK have already signed up to the gruelling week-long challenge, so far raising over £40,000 for the charity’s work in countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, South Sudan and Kenya. The charity encourages people to sign up and support the Mean Bean Challenge.

Tearfund’s International Director Myles Harrison, who is also doing the challenge, said: “What is happening to the millions of people facing famine is heartbreaking and it is unthinkable that in 2017 when we have more than enough food to feed everyone, millions of people around the world are still going to bed hungry. 

“Here in the UK we are often detached from the everyday difficulties families and whole communities are facing. Doing the Mean Bean challenge not only brings this home (I am wondering how I am going to get through the week and still be able to work!) but also helps to raise money for our projects which are providing life saving assistance in over 50 countries. Why not join in too and get your family and friends to sponsor you?”

Money raised by those participating in the Mean Bean challenge will go towards Tearfund projects – including running feeding centres, helping pregnant mothers and carrying out farming training.

Donald Mavunduse, the charity’s Head of East and Southern Africa, said: “It is vital that we continue to fund the crucial work we are carrying out across Africa – pre-empting impending crises and dealing with those we’re seeing unfolding.”

To find out how you can get involved in the Mean Bean challenge, please visit

PHOTOS: Top: Christian SNP MP Carol Monagahan who is doing the Mean Bean challenge for Tearfund stands speaking in the House of Commons

Above: Tearfund beneficiary Lyson who lives in the Dowa district, central Malawi whose family have received sustainable agricultural training, to grow enough food and earn a secure livelihood

Get more inspiring reading

To find back issues of the INSPIRE mini-mag - seasonal and themed issues - go to