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What is Human Welfare?

The word welfare is defined as health, prosperity, and/or happiness of an individual or group of people. And it is generally regarded as a way of fulfilling and measuring the minimal level of social support for people who lack the means to achieve the standards of living set in the society they are in.

Human Welfare Development

According to the United Nations, human welfare development is to let citizens have access to basic resources, amenities, and knowledge. People should have all those in order to have healthy and long lives and capacity to participate in their respective communities. In other literature, human welfare should focus on:

  1. Education
  2. Health
  3. Housing
  4. Income Maintenance

Standards of Living

Governments and societies around the world have different standards of living. It is also referred to as quality of life and is affected heavily by these factors:

  1. Environment
  2. Politics
  3. Society
  4. Economy

Common Understanding of Human Welfare

Human welfare is often associated with financial aid from the government or other organizations. However, it goes deeper than that. In its basic sense, human or social welfare aims to alleviate poverty and distress of the suffering individuals within a society. It does not necessarily equate to providing monetary assistance.

For example, a teacher who volunteers to teach out of school youth is already a form of welfare aid. As long as one provides help to an individual lacking the means to acquire and satisfy his or her basic needs, it is already a form of assistance to achieve the goals of human welfare.

Government Responsibility

Keeping human welfare in check is one of the important responsibilities fulfilled by the government to its citizens. Its development highly determines a country’s quality of life and economic progress. Different countries have similarities and differences on how they execute this.

Welfare Fund Resource

The primary source of funds for human welfare projects of the government is taxpayers’ tax. Other sources of funds for it are charities, inter-governmental organizations, religious groups, and/or in some cases, developmental assistance funds from other nations.


Human welfare has been a target of criticisms even before the 21st century, especially by liberals. The biggest argument and criticism always presented is that human welfare has been used as a tool to fight poverty. It is argued that it is ineffective, a Band-Aid solution, and ultimately defeats its purpose. Critics often state that instead of helping, social welfare programs only condition beneficiaries to become reliant on outside help to improve their quality of living.

Aside from dependency, critics of human welfare believe that recipients of aid tend to misuse the resources being given to them. In some cases, malicious individuals tend to abuse the human welfare systems, especially those that are lenient, and turn it as an easy income source. And due to these instances, human welfare organizations are forced to employ methods to assure that the funds used and provided to beneficiaries are acquired and spent properly.

Human Welfare Misconceptions and Myths

Most criticisms thrown to human welfare systems and their beneficiaries are usually unfounded half-truths. In the United States alone, these criticisms have been continually disproven by studies — both conducted by the government and non-profit organizations. Here are some of them:

  • Welfare aids are too high and unfair for taxpayers
  • Immigrants tend to list themselves are welfare aid recipients
  • Human welfare systems are useless and just plain wasteful
  • Drug addicts feed off monetary aid from welfare programs
  • Welfare beneficiaries are lazy

Participation of NGOs

Aside from the government, NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) help in human welfare development. NGOs usually have two methods to help improve the welfare of its targeted recipients.

The first way is to actively participate in human welfare missions and activities. The activities might be initiated by the NGO itself or projects started by the government. They are formed with the help of volunteered or paid manpower.

The second way is to accumulate funds and resources for the government and/or other NGOs focused on human welfare. Usually, the resources accumulated are gained from fundraisers, charities, and/or trusts.

Human Welfare Foundations

Most human welfare foundations are created by NGOs and government departments concerned with health and human services. Different countries have each of their own foundations. One of the world’s biggest organizations that focus on social welfare is UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

Updated: October 27, 2017 — 1:40 am

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