UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analyzing data in order to fill data gaps for monitoring the situation of children and women through its international household survey initiative the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).
MICS surveys are typically carried out by government organizations, with the support and assistance of UNICEF and other partners. Technical assistance and training for the surveys is provided through a series of regional workshops where experts from developing countries are trained on various aspects of MICS (questionnaire content, sampling and survey implementation, data processing, data quality and data analysis, and report writing and dissemination).
Since the mid-1990s, the MICS has enabled many countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world.
MICS1 (1995) - The MICS was originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals. The first round of MICS was conducted around 1995 in more than 60 countries.
MICS2 (2000) - A second round of surveys was conducted in 2000 (around 65 surveys), and resulted in an increasing wealth of data to monitor the situation of children and women. For the first time it was possible to monitor trends in many indicators and set baselines for other indicators.
MICS3 (2005-2006) - The third round of MICS, which was carried out in over 50 countries in 2005-06, has been an important data source for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals with 21 MDG indicators collected through MICS3 (particularly indicators related to health, education and mortality). MICS3 was also a monitoring tool for other international goals including the World Fit for Children, the UNGASS targets on HIV/AIDS and the Abuja targets for malaria.
MICS4 (2009-2011) - In response to an increased demand for data all over the world, starting from MICS4, UNICEF will be prepared to provide assistance to countries at more frequent intervals - every three years instead of every five years. This will provide the opportunity for countries to capture rapid changes in key indicators, particularly the MDGs.
The 2000 Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey has as its primary objectives:
- To provide up-to-date information for assessing the situation of children and women in Afghanistan at the end of the decade and for looking forward to the next decade;
- To furnish data needed for monitoring progress toward goals established at the World Summit for Children (1990) and a basis for future action;
- To contribute to the improvement of data and monitoring systems in Afghanistan and to strengthen technical expertise in the design, implementation, analysis and interpretation of such systems.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The 2000 Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey covered the following topics:
- Household Information Panel
- Household Listing Form
- Child Labor
- Special Children
- Water and Sanitation
- Salt Iodization
- Women's Information Panel
- Fertility and Child Mortality
- Last Three Pregnancies
- Tetanus Toxoid (TT)
- Maternal and Newborn Health
- Child Spacing
- Hemoglobin Testing of Women
CHILDREN UNDER FIVE
- Birth Registration
- Vitamin A
- Night Blindness in Children
- Breast Feeding
- Care of Illness
Producers and sponsors
Institutional Consultancy Services
German Technical Cooperation
Central Statistics Office
United Nations Children's Fund
The sample for the Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS2) was designed to provide estimates of health, nutrition, water and environmental sanitation, education and children’s rights indicators at the national level, for urban and rural areas, and for the following regions: West-Central, Central, Eastern, North-Eastern, South-Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern. The sample was selected in four stages. A sample of 3,198 households was drawn and 97 districts (census enumeration areas) were selected, with at least 1cluster in each province (Appendix B). The sample districts were selected following the EPI Cluster Sampling Technique. Within each cluster, lists of villages, that were occupied, were made along with obtaining estimates of population sizes of villages. The required number of villages was selected through the application of the EPI sampling technique. Within each village the required number of households was selected randomly through spinning of a bottle.
Of the 3198 households selected for the Afghanistan MICS sample, survey was carried out to cover 880 households in 22 clusters, out of which 879 were interviewed with a household response rate of 100 percent.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The training of Field Team was carried out from 17 – 28 April 2000 in Peshawar. The core team members (Epidemiologist, Technical Adviser, Project Manager, Project Team Leader and Female Survey Team Coordinator) developed the training material for a 10 days training of all enumerators, unit supervisors, logistic coordinators and female survey team coordinators in Pashto and Dari.
The trainers were the Project Team Leader, Deputy Project Team Leader, Female Survey Team Coordinator and Technical Adviser. The training stressed on familiarizing the enumerators and unit supervisors with the questionnaire and skill development of conducting interviews on the basis of the questionnaires.
At the end of the training a Pilot Test was carried out in Afghan Refugee Camps in Peshawar area. The pilot testing was conducted in households equivalent to one cluster i.e., 33 households. This activity, in addition to the training already imparted, proved valuable in alerting the team members and leaders regarding the real-life situation in Afghanistan including access issues and liaison to seek approval to conduct a household survey, in addition to practically conduct the interview itself.
Fourteen enumerator couples collected the data: one female and one male, although for MICS questions it is evident that the survey can and should be conducted by females
alone. However, constructing the teams with one female and one male was absolutely necessary with the pre-requisite that both the members should either be wedded or hould be blood relations i.e., brother and sister, mother and son or father and daughter – the husband or the male blood relation of a woman is called Mehram. This was necessary because in Afghanistan no woman is allowed to travel alone without a mehram.
The fourteen enumerator couples were organized into four units of three and four couples i.e., Unit A comprised 4 couples, Unit B comprised 3 couples, Unit C comprised 4 couples and Unit D comprised 3 couples. Each Unit was headed by a Unit Supervisor and all Unit Supervisors reported to the Project Team Leader, assisted by a Female Survey Team Coordinator and a Deputy Project Team Leader. The Technical Adviser provided training, advice and supervision on the survey and qualitative aspects of the study. The Epidemiologist ensured the technical validity and representativeness of the entire study. The overall management, co-ordination and reporting of the MICS2 was done by the Project Manager. The fieldwork began in June 2000 and was concluded in August 2000.
The questionnaires for the Afghanistan MICS2 were based on the MICS2 Model Questionnaire with some modifications and additions as required and recommended by the Afghanistan MICS2 Steering Committee.
A household questionnaire was administered in each household, which collected various types of information on household members including sex, age, literacy, marital status, and orphanhood status, availability of radios, BBC “New Home, New Life”. The household questionnaire also included education, child labor, water and sanitation, and salt iodization modules. In addition to a household questionnaire, questionnaires were administered in each household for only married women age 12-49 and children under age five. For children, the questionnaire was administered to the mother or caretaker of the child.
The questionnaire for women contains the following modules:
- Child mortality
- Tetanus toxoid
- Maternal and newborn health
- Contraceptive use.
- Last 3 pregnancies
- Hemoglobin testing of women
The questionnaire for children under age five includes modules on:
- Birth certificates
- Vitamin A
- Care of Illness
- Night blindness
From the MICS2 model English version, modified and adapted questionnaires were translated into two languages: Pashto and Dari. The modified and new questions were checked on relevance and validity through consultation with specialists of the subject matter and of Afghan culture. The questionnaires were pre-tested during April 2000, along with the field training of the field team. Based on the results of the pretest, modifications were made to the wording and translation of the questionnaires.
Data were brought to ICONS office at GTZ-SHAIP/Health Services Academy, Islamabad and entered on ten microcomputers using the EpiInfo software. In order to ensure quality control, all questionnaires were independently double entered and internal consistency checks were performed. Procedures and standard programs developed under MICS2 and adapted to the Afghanistan questionnaire were used throughout. The analysis of the data was carried out in SAS and SPSS. Data processing started concurrently with the fieldwork i.e., in June 2000 and finished in October 2000.
MICS Programme Manager
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Global MICS Coordinator
Statistics and Monitoring
Division of Policy and Practice
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New York, NY 10017
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