With increasing ownership of mobile phones and expanding mobile phone network coverage, there is an unprecedented opportunity to use this as a mechanism to collect useful population-based data. After the household survey component of MICS, MICS Plus will continue to collect information from representative sub-samples of respondents via mobile phones, accumulating longitudinal data which will be quickly analysed and disseminated. MICS Plus does not replace MICS but focusses on current data gaps that are best measured with high frequency. MICS Plus can also be used for numerous purposes such as crisis monitoring, program coverage estimation and opinion polling. MICS Plus aims to be a flexible tool using different technological modes to reach respondents, depending on the objectives of the data collection. These modes can include interviews carried out by call centres, by SMS or even through Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
Expert Group Meeting for the launch of MICS Plus
The MICS team brought together an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on October 30-31, 2018 to officially launch the MICS Plus project. The EGM presented and discussed examples of other phone survey initiatives and outlined the technical opportunities and challenges of such surveys. The EGM developed a number of recommendations for MICS Plus in terms of preparing a MICS survey for the follow-on mobile phone survey, potential sample designs to account for sample attrition and sub-sampling, possible modes of data collection and when these can be used, and rapid analytical and dissemination tools for the data. A news article on the EGM is available.
Field-testing of MICS Plus methods in Belize
In a field test in Belize, April 2019, 680 households were selected for interview and asked for their consent and phone numbers to participate in MICS Plus. The households were from the Toledo district and Belize City, South Side. These areas were selected due to their blend of urban and rural populations, cultures and languages, which allows a test of MICS Plus under different conditions. The field work was finalized in late April 2019 and was supported by the Statistical Institute of Belize and UNICEF Belize.
First wave of MICS Plus calls begins
Following the implementation of the MICS baseline survey in Toledo and Belize City South Side, over 80 percent of households in the sample consented to take part in the 11-month phone survey. The first calls to households began on September 9th 2019 and extends for approximately 1 month. Calls are placed from a research centre in Belize City, supported by the Statistical Institute of Belize and UNICEF Belize. Interviewers with MICS or other survey experience were recruited and trained for approximately 1 week on the questionnaires which are a sub-set of the usual MICS questionnaires. Topics for the first month of data collection include among other topics, changes to the household composition, child labour, childhood illnesses, victimization and education.