This Topic Guide aims to answer the question ‘What is the interaction between social development issues and human development outcomes?’ An individual’s right to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living cannot be realised without addressing social development issues. This is because these issues determine individuals’ access to resources – who gets what, where, and how. This in turn affects whether human development is inclusive and equitable or perpetuates inequalities and exclusion.
Two main rationales for considering social development emerge from the literature. Without understanding and addressing social drivers of development, human rights will not be realised and development gains will be undermined. Secondly, by taking social development issues on board, development actors will achieve better results and better value for money.
This guide provides an overview of available evidence on how social development influences human development outcomes. It focuses on five social development issues (human rights, accountability, gender inequality, age and social exclusion) and their influence on four human development sectors: (1) health; (2) sexual and reproductive health (SRH); (3) education; and (4) water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Almost all of the literature in this guide adopts an equity or inequality approach. Many papers recommend an equity approach to service provision. An equity approach is firmly embedded in human rights and, by recognising different individual and group needs, ensures greater access to services for a greater number and range of people than a blanket approach which offers the same services to everyone. On the whole, the literature recommends a multidimensional, relational, and inter-sectoral approach to research and interventions.
Browne, E.; Millington, K.A. Social development and human development: Topic guide. GSDRC and HEART, Birmingham and Oxford, UK (2015) 37 pp.