Belgian Parliamentarians Praise UNFPA's Work in Morocco
- 14 June 2002
Concluding a seven-day tour to observe United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) projects in Morocco, a team of Belgian parliamentarians has commended the Fund for its "very progressive" programme and recommended increased funding for its work. UNFPA is doing an excellent job in Morocco, particularly because it is providing support directly to local people, the parliamentarians said in an interview.
"Both the UNFPA programme and the Belgian Technical Cooperation in Morocco are very impressive," stated Magdeleine Willame-Boonen, member of the Walloon Christian-Democratic Party and leader of the delegation. "We learned a lot of things, especially about the condition of women and the unemployment in Morocco."
"The family planning and women's projects are very advanced and help to empower and emancipate people," said Dalila Douifi, member of the Flemish Socialist Party. "They are very comprehensive and holistic and are based on good understanding of the people. They respect the culture and tradition."
Ms. Willame-Boonen, Ms. Douifi, Marie-Therese Coenen, Anne Mie Descheemaeker, Karine Lalieux, Joke Schauvliege, and Ferdy Willems, representing all the major political parties from both the Flemish and French-speaking parts of Belgium, participated in the tour from 25 to 31 May, 2002. Their tour included visits to projects supported by UNFPA in the Casablanca, Marrakech, Ouarzazate and Rabat areas of Morocco.
The parliamentarians visited maternity projects, a mountain dispensary and several initiatives run by non-governmental organizations to provide services to women, including vocational training, literacy training, income generation and health education.
The parliamentarians said the visit gave them the opportunity to interact directly with local people and to obtain firsthand information about the reality in the field.
Following the tour, the parliamentarians forwarded a letter to Eddy Boutmans, the Belgian State Secretary for Development Cooperation, highlighting the "great work being undertaken by the UNFPA in Morocco" and recommending an increase in Belgium's financial support to the Fund.
Mr. Boutmans subsequently issued a press release announcing that Belgium would continue to increase its funding for UNFPA, to 5.6 million Euros this year.
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