Women Master Trainers Provide Training on the New Elections Results Management System

 women elections
Attia Bhutto, Master Trainer for the Elections Results Management System, trains the staff for the General Elections

"Women always face barriers when working in a society which does not encourage them to accomplish or carry out their roles as equal citizens. To make a difference and make sure that the voices of females are heard, I decided to take an active part in the elections porcess," says Attia Bhutto, the master trainer for Elections Results Management System. 

Attia Tabassum Bhutto, born and raised in Hyderabad, Sindh province is one of the 12 female master trainers involved in the much awaited elections taking place in May, 2013. She has vast experience, as she's been involved in the electoral process since 1996. She took on integral roles ranging from presiding officer, polling staff, administrative officer and this year she is a master trainer. Attia is training election officials on the Election Commission of Pakistan's newly developed Result Management System (RMS) for upcoming national and provincial elections. Her new job entails training data entry operators, who are working at the offices of the Returning Officers, on how to use the RMS application. Around 1800 election officials will be trained in RMS. Attia's work responsibility is a vital part of ensuring accurate and transparent tabulation of election results.

Highlights

  • More than 330,000 polling staff trained in Punjab.
  • More than 17,000 police officials trained in election security.
  • Around 40 million people reached through a voter education campaign via the media, social media and civil society organizations.
  • Elections results database created containing results from polling stations.
  • Currently UNDP is assisting ECP to conduct lessons-learning from the elections held in May this year.

Attia said, “The training is very rigorous and challenging for all of us. However the feedback of all the participants in the Results Management System has been remarkable. I feel proud to be part of this new initiative. For me, there is a sense of ownership and though I have not been involved in the development of the software, I regard myself as one of the pioneers in training the first ever batch to be using this software for the elections.”

Attia has an academic background in international relations, and a diverse knowledge of teaching and career development. Now she dedicates a large part of her time to master training which she undertakes with tremendous passion and dedication. In a society where men generally assume dominant roles, Attia faces continuous challenges and difficulties as a woman but is resolute in her ambition and has never showed any signs of weakness or vulnerability.

Adroitly making her sessions as interactive as possible, Attia encourages female trainees to go the extra mile and says she wants to be a role model and a motivator for them. Her sole purpose in the upcoming elections is to inspire the trainees to develop confidence and expertise in delivering an above-par effort on election day. “This training workshop has been a breath of fresh air for all of us,” says a trainee at the workshop in Karachi. He further added, “Attia has made these sessions pleasant and at the same time very productive. We don't feel uncomfortable learning from a female trainer. She is as capable as the other trainers.”

"My job satisfaction depends on the success of my trainees. If they deliver their task effectively on election day, I will feel elated," says Attia.

UNDP is providing assistance to the election commission in areas including training of polling staff and security personnel, results management and voter education through a three-year electoral cycle support project supported by the Governments of Australia, Norway, Japan, United States, Switzerland and the European Union. With the support of UNDP, ECP has launched a voter-education campaign targeted at inclusion of youth and women, as well as a new elections results management system for upcoming national and provincial elections.

UNDP is assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan to develop the Result Management System and train its officials and data entry operators for the May 11 general elections. The new system will record candidate information and polling scheme data and help returning officers tabulate election results electronically for greater accuracy and transparency.

Projects and initiatives

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