July 25th, 2007 05:23 EST
UN mission helps train Sierra Leonean election officials
The United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) and the National Electoral Commission have finished training nearly 50 district officers, ahead of next month’s presidential and parliamentary polls in the once war-torn West African nation.
The three-day training focused on polling and counting procedures for the 11 August elections, which are widely regarded as a watershed in democratic development for a country that is still recovering from an 11-year long civil war.
The training covered areas such as sorting and counting of ballot papers, confirmation of serial numbers on ballot boxes, and reconciliation of the votes cast and the number of registered voters, according to a press release issued by UNIOSIL.
Now that they have been trained, the 49 district election officers will be responsible for the training of constituency election monitors, polling centre managers, identification officers and presiding officers at various polling stations nationwide.
A total of 37,000 polling staff are being prepared to ensure a credible election day.
UNIOSIL, the first integrated UN office established to support a peace-consolidation process, was established following the completion of peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone that ended on 31 December 2005.