UN electoral volunteers show off their Tetun language skills

7 Jul 2008

UN electoral volunteers show off their Tetun language skills

08 December 2006, Dili--- Following their recent arrival, the first 40 electoral United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) showed off their recently acquired Tetum language skills at a "Tetun Only" performance today.

The electoral UNVs arrived in mid November to begin gearing up for the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. Part of the preparations included undergoing a three-week intensive training program in Tetum.

The Electoral Assistance Division, EAD at UN Headquarters in New York requested that the UNV Support Office in Dili conduct basic Tetum classes for all UNVs before deployment to the districts. The UNV Support office hired four Timorese Tetun teachers and one Timorese Language Coordinator to conduct and facilitate the course which is overseen by a UNV.

"The purpose of the course is to give the participants a basic command of Tetun to make it possible for them to communicate with the Timorese population in the districts and to perform their duties more effectively and with increased cultural sensitivity," UNV Tetun Language Coordinator Bodil Knudsen said.

A core group of 39 electoral UNVs will be deployed in teams of three to the district capitals to work in operations and logistics, voter education and training. They will be directly advising and working with the STAE staff. Two electoral legal experts will operate in the National Parliament. The remaining four UNVs will provide administrative support to the electoral bodies of STAE, Chief Electoral Officer, CNE and the Certification Team.

Early next year, another 165 UNVs will join UNMIT's electoral sector in support of the electoral process followed by another 40 for a total of 250 UNVs leading up to elections.

For additional information, please contact: Allisson Cooper, Spokesperson at 723 0453 or Donna Cusumano at+670 723 0749.