Thursday, April 18, 2013

Needs as Objects of Development

by Alan S. Cajes

Human needs are the objects of human development. Needs are kinakailangan in Filipino and gikinahanglan in Visayan.
In the negative sense, need is a deprivation – akin to kawad-on in Visayan -- that must be satisfied or fulfilled. In the positive sense, need, when satisfied, leads to a state of happiness or well-being that makes a person an important resource in a community. Need, in this positive sense, is not a deprivation, but a potential or a source of power, capability or capacity.

Development interventions, therefore, should be designed in such a way that the needs to be addressed are not simply deprivations to be satisfied, but are also capacities to be unleashed. For example, meager income is a deprivation; thus, increase in income is a development objective. However, such increase in income must be at a level that will enable a person to lead a decent life.

In other words, an increase in income should lift a poor person out of poverty. Thus, if a person earns ten pesos (PHP10) per day and the minimum daily income should be fifty pesos (PHP50), the increase in income should be at least forty pesos (PHP40) per day.

The table below shows the human needs as discussed by Maslow and Max-Neef. It summarizes the different needs --  the objects of development interventions.

Table 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow
Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts
Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others
Love/ belonging
Friendship, family, sexual intimacy
Security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property
Breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion

Table 2. Max-Neef's Funfamental Human Needs
Manfred Max-Neef
Being (qualities)
Having (things)
Doing (actions)
Interacting (settings)
physical and mental health
food, shelter, work
feed, clothe, rest, work
living environment, social setting
care, adaptability, autonomy
social security, health systems, work
co-operate, plan, take care of, help
social environment, dwelling
respect, sense of humour, generosity, sensuality
friendships, family, relationships with nature
share, take care of, make love, express emotions
privacy, intimate spaces of togetherness
critical capacity, curiosity, intuition
literature, teachers, policies, educational
analyse, study, meditate, investigate,
schools, families, universities, communities,
receptiveness, dedication, sense of humour
responsibilities, duties, work, rights
cooperate, dissent, express opinions
associations, parties, churches, neighbourhoods
imagination, tranquility, spontaneity
games, parties, peace of mind
day-dream, remember, relax, have fun
landscapes, intimate spaces, places to be alone
imagination, boldness, inventiveness, curiosity
abilities, skills, work, techniques
invent, build, design, work, compose, interpret
spaces for expression, workshops, audiences
sense of belonging, self-esteem, consistency
language, religions, work, customs, values, norms
get to know oneself, grow, commit oneself
places one belongs to, everyday settings
autonomy, passion, self-esteem, open-mindedness
equal rights
dissent, choose, run risks, develop awareness

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