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New group of UN Volunteers arrives in Sierra Leone to help prepare for elections

New group of UN Volunteers arrives in Sierra Leone to help prepare for elections

Ten United Nations volunteers have arrived in Sierra Leone to help prepare for the country's presidential and parliamentary elections slated for May.

Recruited by the Bonn-based UN Volunteers programme (UNV), the district electoral officers landed in Sierra Leone over the weekend and will join the UN Mission, known as UNAMSIL, in monitoring technical aspects of all phases of the electoral process in the West African country.

Attached to UNAMSIL's Electoral Assistance Division, the volunteers will work with the country's National Electoral Commission (NEC) civic education programme and registration exercise. They will also assist during the electoral campaign and help ensure that political parties have access to the media. Additionally, the UNVs will provide technical advice to local electoral authorities.

The two-week voter registration process, which is being conducted by the NEC, is scheduled to be completed by 7 February.

UN Volunteers have been working with UNAMSIL since early 2000. During last year, 130 volunteers carried out assignments as field engineers, construction supervisors and warehouse managers. Recently, the number of UNV posts increased to 168, with many of the specialists directly involved in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.

The recent arrivals hail from Cameroon, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain and Togo.