Opening Remarks by Ms. Noëlla Richard on the occasion of International Women's Day

9 mars 2024

Mme. Noëlla Richard, Représentante Résidente Adjointe du PNUD au Maroc

Opening Remarks by Ms. Noëlla Richard, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative 

Event hosted by the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reintegration of Detainees in honor of the women beneficiaries of the rehabilitation program in the Fès region, on the occasion of International Women's Day.

8 March 2024, Wilaya, Fès, Morocco, 3 PM


Dear Mr. Abdesslam Frindo, Secretary-General of the Wilaya of the Fès-Meknès Region, 

Dear Mr. Abdelouahed Jamali Idrissi, Coordinator of the Foundation Mohammed VI for the Reintegration of Detainees, 

Dear Mr Derek Walsh, Director of Capacity-building programs at the Hedayah Research Center,

Distinguished Delegates, and Esteemed Colleagues,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is a privilege for me to join such a distinguished gathering today, at the Wilaya of Fès, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. 


Today, we come together to commemorate the achievements and resilience of the women participating in the Professional Reintegration Program, an initiative that stands as a testament to the exemplary collaboration between the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reintegration of Detainees, the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP, the Hedayah Centre and the British Embassy in Morocco.


I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to each of you for gracing us with your presence. Your unwavering commitment to these reintegration efforts underscores our collective dedication to fostering a more inclusive and supportive society, particularly for those who have faced challenges and are the most vulnerable.

The Programme we spotlight today, the "Economic Resilience Program for Returning Women or Women Associated with Returnees/X Detainees Convicted under Anti-Terrorism Laws," epitomizes the spirit of compassion, innovation, and partnership. It is a testament to our shared commitment to facilitating the socio-professional reintegration of former detainees, with a particular emphasis on enabling and supporting women’s empowerment.

Each meticulously planned aspect of this programme reflects our dedication to providing tailored support, acknowledging the diverse backgrounds and aspirations of each beneficiary. Our collaborative efforts of the FMVI, Hedayah, and the generous support extended by the United Kingdom embassy, which complements and sustains our endeavors allow us to equip these women with the necessary tools and resources to overcome obstacles and unleash their full potential.

This programme is part of the broader and comprehensive initiative titled "Support for the Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Ex-detainees Convicted under Anti-Terrorism Laws, including Returnees/Repatriated Individuals and Their Families", in collaboration with the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reintegration of Detainees, to both facilitate effective reintegration into socio-professional life and prevent recidivism. Through strategic interventions focused on institutional coordination, enhancing understanding of specific reintegration approaches, and providing socio-professional and psychosocial support, we aim to promote acceptance, tolerance, and solidarity within our communities.

In 2023 and with member states’ support, UNDP continued its contribution to the implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy through the “Prevention of Violent Extremism” portfolio which encompasses projects in 41 countries, including Morocco, four regional programmes, and globally-led knowledge development, policy guidance, and technical support to country offices. UNDP continued its investment in thought leadership grounded in analysis of global trends of violent extremism, to develop relevant policies and effective practices at global, regional, national, and local levels. 

Our ground-breaking “Journey to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement (2023)” report manifests preventive approaches, delving deep into the root causes of violent extremism. The report investigated what pushes people to the brink of recruitment, and ultimately, the 'turning point' towards disengagement.

As mentioned by our Administrator at the recent meeting of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Action Group to Prevent Violent Extremism, UNDP remains committed to driving forward human development, and the new opportunities it brings as one of the key means to prevent violent extremism.

UNDP is fully committed to supporting the implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy by continuing our investment in women and youth leadership, addressing hate speech and supporting data-informed policies, strategies, and institutions to prevent violent extremism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than ever, multilateral cooperation is essential in crafting integrated approaches that combine nurturing partnership with institutions, including the security sector, on development interventions, addressing the root causes of violent extremism and safeguarding human rights and dignity. 

I extend my profound gratitude to all individuals and organizations whose incredible dedication has made this programme possible. Together, we are agents of change, sources of inspiration, and drivers of progress. I would also like to express my special appreciation to Ms. Zineb Benalla, Expert Consultant, for her tireless commitment and invaluable contributions to the success of this programme since its inception.

As we celebrate the achievements of women as part of the Programme, today, let us also remain mindful of the persistent challenges they face. Our commitment to their success must remain steadfast. We must continue to support them at every stage of their journey, offering concrete support as well as encouragement. 

The world is facing many crises, and these challenges will only be addressed through solutions that empower women. By investing in women, we can spark transformative change and speed the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world for all. Let us pledge to continue this noble endeavor with unwavering determination, empathy, and hope!

Now, if you allow me, I will deliver a few brief remarks in Arabic: 

بمناسبة اليوم العالمي للمرأة، أود أن أختتم كلمتي بالنساء المستفيدات. نحن فخورون بكن وبإصراركن، ونؤمن بقدرتكن على تحقيق النجاح. دعونا نكون هنا لدعمكن في كل خطوة على طريق النجاح[1]

Thank you. 



[1] On the occasion of International Women's Day, I would like to conclude my speech addressing the women/beneficiaries. We are proud of you and your determination, and we believe in your ability to succeed. Let us be here to support you every step of the way towards success.


UNDP is fully committed to supporting the implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy by continuing our investment in women and youth leadership, addressing hate speech and supporting data-informed policies, strategies, and institutions to prevent violent extremism.