New technology and improved mobile phone access now allow for more rapid, representative data collection, which can further strengthen our understanding of children’s wellbeing and facilitate faster decision making for programs at the country level. Data collection using mobile phones can be used by national governments and UNICEF for multiple purposes, including crisis monitoring, program coverage, opinion polling and qualitative follow-up of respondents.
The MICS programme brought together a group of experts to New York on October 30-31 for the launch of the new Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Plus initiative. MICS Plus aims to tap into the many opportunities phone surveys offer. In its most basic form, MICS Plus collects data through mobile phones from representative subsamples of MICS, at frequent intervals. As the added value and format of MICS Plus might vary by goal and geography, the experts agreed that MICS Plus will be based on a flexible toolkit rather than a single standardized survey solution.
Over the course of two days, several partners from both the private and public sector shared valuable information on their experiences with mobile phone data collection and the expert group discussed how MICS Plus can complement MICS. While MICS produces robust results on key indicators at a specific point in time, MICS Plus can focus on extending some of these indicators or introducing new areas that should be measured with higher frequency.
The MICS Plus project is in its early stages and many decisions on its application will be made in the coming months. The MICS team is currently focused on the development of this exciting new project and will test several mobile phone strategies early next year in Belize.