The Number of Civil Society Organizations Soars

In her speech during the opening of the Youth Societies Summit on 7 July 2009, the Minister of Social Development, Fatima Al Balushi, stated that the number of civil society organizations (CSOs) has increased significantly over the past years and reached over 474 in the current year compared to no more than 260 societies by the end of 2001. The Minister regarded this as ‘an indicator of the

Fatima Al Balushi
vitality and activism of CSOs in Bahrain, and that it is thriving during a time that is characterized by an increase in freedom, transparency and political and economic development’.

However, the Minister regarded this increase in the number of societies as ‘one of the biggest challenges facing the Ministry and made it re-assess the best way of providing the necessary support and services to them’. She noted the necessity of re-categorizing those societies in accordance to systematic foundations, as the case with the voluntary youth organizations which need to unite their efforts and be given an equal share of the Ministry’s technical and financial support. Based on this, the Minister has announced that it will be providing permanent headquarters for all youth organizations, consisting of 12 apartments and shared utilities such as meeting halls. The cost of this project is 650 thousand Dinars (nearly 1.75 Million US Dollars).