The societal risks of unmet needs

Certain fundamental elements are required for the survival and normal mental and physical health of human beings. These elements include food, water, shelter and protection from environmental threats.

The absence of the basic necessities may lead to different forms of imbalance in the life of an individual, a society or the nation at large. Hence the effort of most developed countries in providing basic amenities in order to create an environment for citizens to be able to achieve the acquisition of these basic elements necessary for survival.

Risks associated with unmet needs

Unmet needs can be adjudged to be responsible for a lot of societal ills within any given community. Especially in developing countries, the unavailability of basic infrastructure is usually a common occurrence, leading to a high level of unmet needs.

When basic needs are unmet, the society becomes exposed to various challenges. These challenges may show up in areas such as:


The absence of basic elements such as clean water may lead to societal health challenges. Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms which are directly transmitted when contaminated fresh water is consumed. By extension, contaminated fresh water, used in the preparation of food, can be the source of foodborne disease through consumption of the same microorganisms.

In a situation where a society does not have access to clean water, it is only expected for certain epidemic breakout to be experienced, leading to societal health emergencies.


The fight for survival is a basic human instinct. The tendency to do whatever it takes to get by leads a lot of persons into criminal acts that could be avoided if basics such as food and clothing are available to them. Even though lack should not be an excuse for crime, we cannot rule out the fact that in reality, crime tends to thrive in areas where poverty is prevalent.


For the same reasons responsible for crime as mentioned above, a society with a high tendency for crime automatically becomes and unsafe society. What happens in most cases is that those who cannot afford the basic elements that are necessary for human survival eventually engage in criminal acts. It is the wider society that suffers the repercussions of such developments. Those who appear to be comfortable ultimately become the targets of the ones who are desperate for survival.

Unhealthy competition:

The absence of basic needs creates an atmosphere of survival of the fittest. Under such circumstances, fierce competition is introduced for whatever limited resources that may be available. This eventually creates an unconducive social environment for mutual habitation of a group of people.


Leadership of communities and nations are responsible for the provision of certain fundamental infrastructure/service for their people. When such is absent, the tendency for rebellion becomes a possibility. This could range from civil protests, to violent resistances. In extreme cases, absence of basic amenities have led to acts of terror and war.

Giving is also receiving

Meeting the basic needs of life is one of the most important tasks of human existence. Technically, governments at various levels are saddled with the responsibility of providing basic infrastructure and amenities, or at the minimum, create the appropriate environment for the people to provide for themselves.

Unfortunately, due to several reasons, both natural and artificial, there seems to be a global failure in providing adequate infrastructure and welfare to cater for citizens. NGOs and charities exist to play very important roles in supporting government efforts in reaching out to the less privileged and the needy.

As efforts are being made towards meeting the needs for the basic elements for human survival, indirectly the associated risks associated with living in lack as mentioned above are eliminated.

Therefore, in the real sense, giving to the needy is also as good as giving to oneself the intangible things of life.

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