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Australia - Oceania :: Marshall Islands Print
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MARSHALL ISLANDS
  • Introduction :: Marshall Islands
  • Background field listing
    After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network. Kwajalein also hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system (the others are at Cape Canaveral, Florida (US), on Ascension (Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha), and at Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory)).
  • Geography :: Marshall Islands
  • Location field listing
    Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    9 00 N, 168 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Oceania
    Area field listing
    total: 181 sq km
    land: 181 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and encompasses the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik

    country comparison to the world: 217
    Area - comparative field listing
    about the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    370.4 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate field listing
    tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
    Terrain field listing
    low coral limestone and sand islands
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 2 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    14 highest point: East-central Airik Island, Maloelap Atoll
    Natural resources field listing
    coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 50.7% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 7.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 31.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 11.7% (2011 est.)
    forest: 49.3% (2011 est.)
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    most people live in urban clusters found on many of the country's islands; more than two-thirds of the population lives on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye
    Natural hazards field listing
    infrequent typhoons
    Environment - current issues field listing
    inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels; sea level rise
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
  • People and Society :: Marshall Islands
  • Population field listing
    75,684 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Marshallese
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Marshallese 92.1%, mixed Marshallese 5.9%, other 2% (2006)
    Languages field listing
    Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)

    note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language

    Religions field listing
    Protestant 54.8%, Assembly of God 25.8%, Roman Catholic 8.4%, Bukot nan Jesus 2.8%, Mormon 2.1%, other Christian 3.6%, other 1%, none 1.5% (1999 census)
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 34.26% (male 13,224 /female 12,706)
    15-24 years: 18.49% (male 7,117 /female 6,875)
    25-54 years: 37.15% (male 14,318 /female 13,800)
    55-64 years: 5.86% (male 2,221 /female 2,215)
    65 years and over: 4.24% (male 1,580 /female 1,628) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age field listing
    total: 23.1 years
    male: 23 years
    female: 23.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Population growth rate field listing
    1.5% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Birth rate field listing
    23.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Death rate field listing
    4.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Net migration rate field listing
    -4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Population distribution field listing
    most people live in urban clusters found on many of the country's islands; more than two-thirds of the population lives on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 77% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.61% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    31,000 MAJURO (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 18.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 21.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 16.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 73.6 years (2018 est.)
    male: 71.4 years (2018 est.)
    female: 76 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.98 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Health expenditures field listing
    17.1% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Physicians density field listing
    0.46 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    2.7 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 93.5% of population
    rural: 97.6% of population
    total: 94.6% of population
    unimproved: urban: 6.5% of population
    rural: 2.4% of population
    total: 5.4% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 84.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 56.2% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 76.9% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 15.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 43.8% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 23.1% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Major infectious diseases field listing

    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    52.9% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2011 est.)
    total population: 98.3% (2011 est.)
    male: 98.3% (2011 est.)
    female: 98.2% (2011 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 11% (2010 est.)
    male: 12.2% (2010 est.)
    female: 8.7% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
  • Government :: Marshall Islands
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    conventional short form: Marshall Islands
    local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
    local short form: Marshall Islands
    former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
    abbreviation: RMI
    etymology: named after British Captain John MARSHALL, who charted many of the islands in 1788
    Government type field listing
    presidential republic in free association with the US
    Capital field listing
    name: Majuro; note - the capital is an atoll of 64 islands; governmental buildings are housed on three fused islands: Djarrit, Uliga, and Delap
    geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing
    24 municipalities; Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikini & Kili, Ebon, Enewetak & Ujelang, Jabat, Jaluit, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namdrik, Namu, Rongelap, Ujae, Utrik, Wotho, Wotje
    Independence field listing
    21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
    National holiday field listing
    Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)
    Constitution field listing
    history: effective 1 May 1979 (2018)
    amendments: proposed by the National Parliament or by a constitutional convention; passage by Parliament requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the total membership in each of two readings and approval by a majority of votes in a referendum; amendments submitted by a constitutional convention require approval of at least two-thirds of votes in a referendum; amended several times, last in 1995 (2018)
    International law organization participation field listing
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Marshall Islands
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Hilda C. HEINE (since 28 January 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Hilda C. HEINE (since 28 January 2016)
    cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president from among members of the Nitijela, appointed by Nitijela speaker
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Nitijela from among its members for a 4-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 January 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
    election results: Hilda C. HEINE elected president; Parliament vote - Hilda C. HEINE 24, she was the only candidate

    note: Hilda C. HEINE is the first female elected head of state of any Pacific island nation

    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral National Parliament or Nitijela (33 seats; members in single- and multi-seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Council of Iroij, a 12-member group of tribal leaders advises the Presidential Cabinet and reviews legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice)
    elections: last held on 16 November 2015 (next to be held by November 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independent 33; composition - men 28, women 5, percent of women 15.2%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and other judges as prescribed by law)
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and upon the approval of the Nitijela; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 72
    subordinate courts: High Court; District Courts; Traditional Rights Court; Community Courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Imata KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
    International organization participation field listing
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Gerald M. ZACKIOS (since 16 September 2016)
    chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
    consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Springdale (AR)
    consulate(s): Agana (Guam)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Karen Brevard STEWART (since 25 July 2016)
    embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
    mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
    telephone: [692] 247-4011
    FAX: [692] 247-4012
    Flag description field listing
    blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago's position just to the north
    National symbol(s) field listing
    a 24-rayed star; national colors: blue, white, orange
    National anthem field listing
    name: Forever Marshall Islands
    lyrics/music: Amata KABUA

    note: adopted 1981

  • Economy :: Marshall Islands
  • Economy - overview field listing

    US assistance and lease payments for the use of Kwajalein Atoll as a US military base are the mainstay of this small island country. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. Tourism holds some potential. The islands and atolls have few natural resources, and imports exceed exports.

    The Marshall Islands received roughly $1 billion in aid from the US during the period 1986-2001 under the original Compact of Free Association (Compact). In 2002 and 2003, the US and the Marshall Islands renegotiated the Compact's financial package for a 20-year period, 2004 to 2024. Under the amended Compact, the Marshall Islands will receive roughly $1.5 billion in direct US assistance. Under the amended Compact, the US and Marshall Islands are also jointly funding a Trust Fund for the people of the Marshall Islands that will provide an income stream beyond 2024, when direct Compact aid ends.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $196 million (2017 est.)
    $191.3 million (2016 est.)
    $184.6 million (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 221
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $222 million (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    2.5% (2017 est.)
    3.6% (2016 est.)
    2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $3,600 (2017 est.)
    $3,500 (2016 est.)
    $3,400 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 186
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    government consumption: 50% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 17.8% (2016 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.2% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 52.9% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -102.3% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 4.4% (2013 est.)
    industry: 9.9% (2013 est.)
    services: 85.7% (2013 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens
    Industries field listing
    copra, tuna processing, tourism, craft items (from seashells, wood, and pearls)
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    NA
    Labor force field listing
    10,670 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 11%
    industry: 16.3%
    services: 72.7% (2011 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    36% (2006 est.)
    30.9% (2000 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Population below poverty line field listing
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 116.7 million (2013 est.)
    expenditures: 113.9 million (2013 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    52.6% (of GDP) (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    1.3% (of GDP) (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Public debt field listing
    25.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    30% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Fiscal year field listing
    1 October - 30 September
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    0% (2017 est.)
    -1.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Current account balance field listing
    -$1 million (2017 est.)
    $15 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Exports field listing
    $0 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    Exports - commodities field listing
    copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish
    Imports field listing
    $103.8 million (2016 est.)
    $133.7 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Imports - commodities field listing
    foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages, tobacco
    Debt - external field listing
    $97.96 million (2013 est.)
    $87 million (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    Exchange rates field listing

    the US dollar is used

  • Energy :: Marshall Islands
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 30,084 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 59% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 65% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
    Electricity - production field listing
    650 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    604.5 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    52,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    81% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    19% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    2,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    2,060 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    293,700 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
  • Communications :: Marshall Islands
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 2,361 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 16,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: some telecom infrastructure improvements made in recent years; modern services include telex, cellular, Internet, international calling, caller ID, and leased data circuits (2016)
    domestic: Majuro Atoll and Ebeye and Kwajalein islands have regular, seven-digit, direct-dial telephones; other islands interconnected by high frequency radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes) and mini-satellite telephones (2016)
    international: country code - 692; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2016)
    Broadcast media field listing
    no TV broadcast station; a cable network is available on Majuro with programming via videotape replay and satellite relays; 4 radio broadcast stations; American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) provides satellite radio and television service to Kwajalein Atoll (2009)
    Internet country code field listing
    .mh
    Internet users field listing
    total: 21,857 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 29.8% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 1,000 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Communications - note field listing
    Kwajalein hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system (the others are at Cape Canaveral, Florida (US), on Ascension (Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha), and at Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory))
  • Transportation :: Marshall Islands
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 86,868 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    V7 (2016)
    Airports field listing
    15 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 4 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 11 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 2,028 km (2007)
    paved: 75 km (2007)

    note: roads are mostly unimproved

    country comparison to the world: 174
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 3,199 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 1263, container ship 260, general cargo 80, oil tanker 775, other 821 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Enitwetak Island, Kwajalein, Majuro
  • Military and Security :: Marshall Islands
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces; Marshall Islands Police (2012)
    Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of the US
  • Transnational Issues :: Marshall Islands
  • Disputes - international field listing
    claims US territory of Wake Island
    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: The Marshall Islands is a source and destination country for Marshallese women and girls and women from East Asia subjected to sex trafficking; Marshallese and foreign women are forced into prostitution in businesses frequented by crew members of fishing and transshipping vessels that dock in Majuro; some Chinese women are recruited to the Marshall Islands with promises of legitimate work and are subsequently forced into prostitution
    tier rating: Tier 3 – The Marshall Islands do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government made no anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including developing a written plan to combat trafficking; no new trafficking investigations were opened in 2014, and no prosecutions or convictions were made for the fourth consecutive year; no efforts were made to identify trafficking victims, especially among women in prostitution or men working on foreign fishing vessels in Marshallese waters, and no attempt was made to ensure their access to protective services; limited awareness-raising events were conducted by an international organization (2015)