10 April 2019

MICS is testing a new method to understand how children use their time.

MICS collects data on a range of child indicators related to health, nutrition, education and development. However, little is currently known about how much time children spend on activities that promote positive outcomes in these domains. Data on what children do, when and for how long they perform activities and the sequence of activities can help us understand outcomes and serve as an important advocacy tool to highlight how boys and girls live in different countries and within countries. The MICS surveys is currently testing a new method to understand how children spend their time. This field test is being conducted in partnership with the Statistical Institute of Belize and UNICEF Belize which have extensive experience in implementing MICS surveys.

At present, MICS is implementing a field test in two districts of Belize to test a new module to collecting data on children’s time use. The module uses a diary approach where mothers (or caregivers in some cases) relate what activities their child age 5-17 did the previous day. Further to this module, other new innovations are being fielded. These include new questions to understand how to collect data on adolescents which are not in education, employment or training (NEET), air quality, and MICS Plus, a mobile phone follow-up survey of a subsample of MICS respondents for additional questions related to child and family well-being.

The field test includes 680 households in Toledo district and Belize city, South Side and field work will continue until the beginning of May. These areas are selected given that they have a blend of urban and rural populations, cultures and languages, which allow MICS to test new modules and approaches under different conditions. The MICS Plus part of the field test will continue for approximately 11 months, beginning in May 2019. Results are expected to be released in June 2019 and onwards.