MICS for Starters

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, or MICS, is a global household survey programme supported and coordinated by UNICEF.

What is MICS?
Essentially, UNICEF provides technical and logistical assistance and funding to developing country governments to conduct MICS surveys - face to face interviews with household respondents, to collect data on topics related to children's and women's well-being, such as child and maternal health, nutrition, education, and HIV/AIDS.

Scientific sampling techniques are used to select the households where interviews are held, which means that the results are nationally representative.

The content of MICS surveys is dictated by international commitments, UNICEF priorities, and country priorities in monitoring. For example, indicators of the Millennium Development Goals. Results are widely distributed through survey reports, and other means. The objective is to collect information on the situation of children and women, formulate and influence policy decisions - all for improving the well-being of children and women.

This blog site
This blog site is intended to fill an important gap - to provide formal as well as informal information on MICS surveys around the world. It is intended to play the role of an unofficial, informal forum to share information on MICS activities globally.

http://www.childinfo.org/ is the website where formal/official information on MICS is regularly posted.

The information, interpretations or conclusions expressed in the blog are entirely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the policies or views of UNICEF. Please post your comments on the posts. To do this, one simply needs to click on the title of the post, and write his/her comments.

The Cast
The way MICS works, in a nutshell, is as follows:

At UNICEF Headquarters in New York, is the New York MICS Team - responsible for coordinating global activities, producing standards, tools, templates, and provide technical assistance to governments, through the regional and country offices of UNICEF, by using easy-to-use survey tools, manuals, guidelines, methodological documents and the like, and by co-organizing regional workshops with UNICEF's Regional Offices that country teams attend.

At the Regional Offices of UNICEF (located in Dakar, Panama City, Amman, Geneva, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Nairobi), the Reginoal MICS Coordinators coordinate activities in their respective regions - mobilize human resources, coordinate the flow of funds, assist countries in survey decisions, provide technical assistance, and organize regional workshops in collaboration with the New York MICS Team.

Regional MICS Coordinators work closely with their supervisors, the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officers.

The New York MICS Team and the Regional MICS Coordinators form the Global MICS Team.

At the country level are the governments and UNICEF Country Offices. Governments are the owners of the surveys - usually, the National Statistical Office implements the survey. Steering Committees are formed, comprised of members from various sectoral ministries, and other international agencies and stakeholders. UNICEF Country Offices designate a MICS Focal Point, usually the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, who is the main contact person for the implementing agency in the UNICEF system. The main bulk of funding for the surveys comes from the UNICEF Country Office, although in many cases, other UN agencies, international agencies and bilateral agencies also contribute to funding the surveys.