The Mean Bean Challenge

Every day one billion people across the world experience life-threatening hunger. For many people in the UK, that is an unbelievable statistic. The number is SO big, it’s hard to hold it in your head. So we decided to come up with a way to bring that figure home, and make it real for Christians across the UK. Enter, the Mean Bean Challenge!

At the end of April 2016, almost 300 people took the Mean Bean Challenge. Sacrificing their usual varied diets, they ate only small portions of rice, beans and porridge for five days. No caffeine, no nutritious vegetables, no sweets! Just rice, beans, and porridge. They took on one of three levels of the challenge - the most extreme meant they couldn’t even have salt or any other form of spice or seasoning.

One little girl

Many people took on the challenge because of the story of Yasmin - a six-year-old girl living in Chad who is facing the possibility of starvation. The harvests have failed in her village and her mother has had to resort to desperate measures to find food - digging in ant’s nests and taking the seeds they have collected.

Yasmin, a six-year-old girl from Chad

‘I think that it's important for us to do the Mean Bean Challenge because, although we won't know what Yasmin feels like, as she is starving every day, we might be able to understand a little bit more.’ Ben, 10, who took on the Mean Bean Challenge with his Dad

Yasmin is sadly just one person out of one billion. Your Connected Church partner will know hundreds more who are struggling to feed their families. In the last few months we have had reports of drought and crop failures in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Have you got what it takes?

So why not take on the challenge yourself and raise money for your Connected Church partner? We guarantee you will gain real perspective on the food you eat everyday, and you might be surprised by the generosity and kindness of those around you.

'Another thing that surprised me was the generosity of strangers. When I went out for a friend’s birthday meal, I sat there with my rice and beans, and the restaurant were so accommodating. They even gave me a gift (cookies) at the end, and took the drinks off our bill so that we could donate the money to Tearfund! How amazing is that?’ Dani, a member of Tearfund’s Donor Care team who all took on the Mean Bean Challenge together

You can find all the resources you need on the Mean Bean Challenge website, and do let us know if you’re going to give it a go as a church or group by emailing us at We would love to hear your thoughts and see the photos of your Mean Bean meals!