Last week, the UNV Field Unit in Timor-Leste welcomed its 20 newest members who reported for their assignments as UNV Electoral Officers and Advisors in the country's 2012 national elections.
These fast approaching 2012 elections are a vast undertaking, requiring a great deal of preparation, much of which needs to be done well in advance.
The newly arrived UN Volunteers will be supporting the electoral process by providing logistical assistance and advice for the elections' planning, organization, and preparation.
They will also conduct and monitor civic and voter education activities, among other tasks.
"We came to contribute to the success of the electoral mission, to support our national colleagues through capacity building for peace and sustainable development in the country," said Aranzazu Chacon Gomez, a UN Volunteer from Spain.
The UN Volunteers will assist the UN Electoral Support Team (UNEST) in advising the members of the National Election Commission (CNE) and of the Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE).
The UN Volunteers are starting out by being briefed on issues such as security, logistics, GPS and radio operations, defensive driving, the electoral geography, the legal framework, the national language, Tetun, and cultural awareness. Afterwards, they will be deployed to the 13 districts of the country.
Electoral Officers and Advisors play an important role in the electoral process, ensuring that international principles on elections are fulfilled.
The recruited volunteers are professionals with experience in the field, where being of strong will and having a genuine commitment are also considered assets.
The new UN Volunteers come from Brazil, Cape Verde, Cuba, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, the Philippines, Mozambique, Portugal, Spain and Timor-Leste.
While they come from different parts of the world, they share a common distinction.
They all have a great deal of electoral expertise together with a strong commitment to volunteer for peaceful elections in Timor-Leste.
A second team of UNV Electoral Officers and Advisors is expected to arrive by the end of July to join the UN Electoral Support Team in the efforts towards fair elections in 2012.