Linking aid to sustainable human development


Thus far, we have looked individually at both sustainable human development, and at international aid. In this video, we’re looking at how to link the two concepts. By the end of this video, you will, hopefully, have a better understanding of how to answer questions like this one. Don’t worry if it seems a little overwhelming at first – we’re going to walk through it.

You might remember that sustainable human development is, essentially, the combination of health, human development and sustainability. In fact, the definition of sustainable human development basically says as much.

So to link international aid to sustainable human development, we need to be able to explain how aid impacts all of health, human development and sustainability. In general, we can say that aid can positively impact health by providing superior resources. For example, the provision of medicine and shelter should improve physical health. Aid can positively impact human development by expanding choices and enhancing capabilities. In particular, the provision of aid can result in improved employment opportunities and personal skills of individual in the community. And when aid emphasises education in particular, it will certainly positively impact sustainability.

Now, let’s look again at that daunting question from the 2014 VCAA exam – the one that we flagged at the beginning of this video. It is actually part of a larger question, which has some important information.

It reads: “South Sudan, a country in Africa, is increasingly reliant on emergency aid, with the number of people in need of food aid increasing significantly. It is a country in conflict and needs urgent support to be able to provide enough food, water and essential services to its people. Oxfam is a non-government organisation working in South Sudan to provide people with safe drinking water and toilets/latrines. It runs hygiene promotion activities to prevent the outbreak of disease and to educate people about safe hygiene practices. It also works with the World Food Programme to help distribute food supplies.”

The question we need to answer is worth six marks. This will likely be two marks for showing how health and human development interrelate, two marks for showing how health and sustainability interrelate, and two marks for showing how human development and sustainability interrelate. But let me make this point blatantly clear: if you don’t use examples from the provided case study to support your answer, you *will not get full marks*. You *need* to use examples – a description of the relationships is not enough.


So we could say something like this:

“By providing safe drinking water and toilets/latrines to those in South Sudan, Oxfam is likely to improve physical health. This is because sanitation would be improved, thereby reducing the risk of communicable disease and, therefore, resulting in better physical health. Social health may also be improved as a result of the hygiene promotion activities, where community members may have a chance to interact with others. Improved health means that individuals are more likely to participate in life of the community, such as the Oxfam education program. This should also result in expanded choices and enhanced capabilities, because individuals’ skills and knowledge will be improved. By expanding choices and enhancing capabilities, sustainability is also likely to be positively impacted; knowledge can be passed from generation to generation for free, and in a sustainable manner. That is, the needs of the present can be met without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their own needs. Finally, the sustainability achieved as the result of education and long-term sanitation facilities is likely to improve health. By implementing more sustainable health measures, the individuals of South Sudan will likely become less reliant on emergency aid. This means that they will be at less risk of physical ill-health (malnutrition, for example). Subsequently, their mental health may also improve.”


Important to note here that this response is just one example – answers may differ dramatically. But also note that examples from the case study have been littered throughout the response.