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Example Answer for Questions 16, 17 and 18 Paper 2: A Level Sociology, June 2017 (AQA)

A Level

Last updated 22 Jun 2017

Topic B2: Global Development

Q16 (10 marks)

Q17 (10 marks)

Q18 (20 marks)


One way in which the process of development may impact on people’s health chances is the process of industrialisation and urbanisation. With development, often comes large scale industrialisation of a nation as the main sources of production move from agricultural primary goods to more manufactured secondary goods, such as textiles and electronic components. Large scale industrialisation is dependent upon a larger workforce and therefore needs to be in urban areas. This attracts people, particularly young families and young women to the cities in the search for employment. This often leads to over-population in the cities, and many of the low wage workers are left to live in shanty towns and slums on the outskirts of the city. The conditions in these areas are poor, with inadequate sanitation, little to no refuse collection and problems with vermin. This spreads diseases such as typhoid, diphtheria and other communicable diseases which impact on the population of the shanty towns and slums, ultimately harming the health chances of those that live there.

A more positive impact on people’s health chances that is brought about through development is through aid. Non-governmental organisations such as the Red Cross and Save the Children actively tackle childhood diseases such as measles and mumps and have had great success in reducing the infant mortality rate in many nations through immunisation and treatment using western medicines. Further improvements in health chances through aid have come from charities such as Water aid which have targeted areas with inadequate drinking water and sanitation and worked with the local people to build wells and to develop irrigation projects to boost agriculture in the region, thus tackling malnutrition.  This has a positive impact on the health and well-being of people in the developing world.


Item K highlights that the process of industrialisation ‘involves a shift from agriculture’ which explains one way in which industrialisation may impact on the environment. To develop ‘goods in factories’ land needs to be acquired for these factories to be built. Often this land is former farmland, or in some instances former woodland which has had to be cleared to build factories, which can lead to deforestation. Additionally, a transport infrastructure needs to be developed around the factory for raw materials to be brought in and finished products delivered to customers. Therefore, the amount of pollution in the area increases. The industrial production of goods means that there will inevitably be waste and with lax regulations around the dumping of waste in many developing nations this is often dumped without due care causing environmental problems such as water pollution. An example of this is the dumping of unused minerals by the Anglo-Ashanti mining company in Ghana which led to high levels of lead in drinking and bathing water.

Item K also refers to changing patterns of consumption of goods. In terms of environmental damage, the move from an agricultural nation to one of mass consumption produces more non-biodegradable waste. Agricultural societies would often be based on subsistence farming and therefore very little of the produce grown was wasted with any surplus being sold off. Even if primary products such as wheat, coffee and grains were not used, they could be replanted and effectively recycled. However, with the increase in consumer goods the amount of packaging increases, and if there are not adequate facilities to dispose of these goods, they too could be dumped in rivers causing water pollution or burnt, which would increase air pollution. As it would be unlikely for recycling of plastics, paper and glass to be one of the first stages of development, the suggestion in item K that changes in the types of things people consume would lead to environmental problems, named pollution.



Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are non-profit organisations that operate independently from nation-states and other international agencies of development. Some, but not all, are charities and are focused on providing humanitarian aid, particularly in the fields of healthcare, disaster relief and education in the developing world. As the item suggests, however, their role in development has been criticised in some quarters as serving the needs of the west and there are questions raised about how they operate.

One contribution of NGOs to global development has been humanitarian aid. One of the key roles of NGOs is to raise awareness of issues that are happening in the developing world such as famine, civil war, natural disasters and the impact that these have on the people of the developing world. A good example of this is the awareness of the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s by Bob Geldof and Live Aid. More contemporary examples would be the awareness of the Syria Refugee crisis or the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. However, some would criticise NGOs as spending too much money on raising the profile of their charity and awareness of the cause through expensive advertising and filmmaking.  For example, the ‘Stop Kony’ campaign in 2012 brought to the world’s attention the plight of child soldiers in Uganda. However, most of the money raised by the campaign was reinvested into film-making rather than helping former child soldiers or tackling the issue. It led to accusations that NGOs were more concerned with their public image than with aiding development projects.

A further contribution of NGOs in the development process is their ability to work across borders and over longer periods of time. NGOs, unlike governments are not politically affiliated to any one political viewpoint and therefore can maintain a level of funding over a longer period, unlike nation-states, whose priorities often change from one election to the next. NGOs have the advantage of being politically neutral, which enables them to work with governments in the developing world whose ideology may not fit with that of Western nation states. An example of this is support that was given by charities to Syrian refugees in Calais, when some governments were unwilling to assist due to the political climate in their home nation. A further example would be the Ethiopian famine, the government of which had been denied official aid by the US and UK due to its Marxist government. However, in the UK, almost 50% of charitable funding is provided by the government and whilst some charities do not receive this funding and are reliant upon donations from the public, others do and therefore may be susceptible to switching their attentions to causes that fit in with the needs of one of their biggest donors, i.e. the UK Government.

A further advantage of NGOS is that they can react to global crises a lot quicker than nation-states or International government agencies. As they are independent of government, they do not have to adhere to the bureaucracy and red tape that surrounds governments (voting, passing legislation, etc). Indeed, NGOs often form the basis of the Disaster Emergency Committee to co-ordinate fundraising efforts for natural disasters overseas, such as the Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004. NGOs can utilise their local knowledge of areas to target aid to those who need it the most. They are able and willing to take risks that governments can’t do. As Item L states ‘NGOs differ widely in their scale and focus of their work’. They can take on projects such as the Syrian Refugee crisis that spans international borders, whilst also being able to set up people-centred aid projects, giving women in the developing world a chance to own their own land through micro-schemes. However, this has led to some accusations that NGOS are not accountable for their actions and that their expenditure of money raised by the public is often unclear. For example, Comic relief has ‘administrative costs’ of over £10 million a year and has been accused of investing money unethically in arms suppliers and drink manufacturers.

In conclusion, NGOs are of vital importance in the developing world. They often fill in the gaps created by structural adjustment policies and the debt that official aid from nation-states and the IMF and World Bank create. Their legacy is in tackling the social aspects of development, such as dealing with infant mortality, the HIV epidemic, starvation and malnutrition. Whilst more bi-lateral and multi-lateral aid focus on large infrastructure development to serve the needs of the economy, NGOs focus on the day to day lives of individuals in the developing world, and despite their critics who claim that Hollywood Actors backing NGOs portrays an image of black people needing to be saved by rich white people, it is hard to imagine the impact on the developing world if they did not exist.    

Please Note: These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.


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