Bahrain was one of the first Gulf States to discover oil and is home to more than1.2 million people, over half of whom are Bahrainis. It has less oil reserves at its disposal and since early 2011, it has faced ongoing political instability as the local Shia population protested what they perceived was systematic discrimination against them in accessing employment and services. After the 2011 protests, similar discontent has continued.
Despite this complicated backdrop, Bahrain has continued to play an active role in humanitarian activities. Like KSA and other Gulf States, it raises funds through the traditional Zakat and Sadaqa channels alongside national telethons. In 2011, its BH4Somalia telethon campaign raised (US) $2.7 million in just one day. Alongside the Bahrain Red Crescent Society, its main humanitarian organization is the Royal Charitable Organization (RCO), which has been a long-standing donor to projects in the region. In 2012, it funded and opened a health centre and public library for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Several UN agencies are represented at the UN House in Bahrain, including UNICEF, UNDP and UNIC.
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