Mongolia is among the few countries that have conducted Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) in all six rounds of the MICS programme. In December 2018, as part of MICS6, Mongolia carried out the Social Indicator Sample Survey (SISS), a three-month long data collection that covered a sample of 14,500 households. The National Statistics Office (NSO) of Mongolia and UNICEF jointly organized a “Data Interpretation and Report Compilation (DIRC)” workshop during the first week of April 2019 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the world’s coldest capital. In line with MICS guidelines, the workshop gave experts the opportunity to reflect on the survey’s findings, thus ensuring they play a bigger role in the finalization and release of the report.
Dr. Amarbal Avirmed, Head of Population and Social Statistics Department, NSO, opened the workshop. In his remarks, Dr. Amarbal said that bringing new data to sector experts was vital not only for validating the findings but enhancing experts’ closer involvement in the finalization and dissemination of the results. The experts’ review and feedback was invaluable to the survey findings report, which will be released in June 2019, within 6 months of fieldwork completion, the target set by the MICS6 programme. UNICEF Deputy Representative to Mongolia Ms. Speciose Hakizimana added that the involvement of sector experts in the early stages of data analysis and interpretation would allow them to start thinking about opportunities for further analysis to fill some evidence gaps using the newer data.
In order to facilitate the review and interpretation of the survey’s new findings, participants were grouped according to their expertise, and NSO or MICS team members facilitated the discussions. Group members were curious and anxious to see the new data and contributed to the teams’ understanding of the survey findings. At times, it was a challenge for facilitators to manage the groups’ enthusiasm and excitement. The experts also commented on some of the Mongolian translations used in the tabulations during the workshop.