The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) project and data collection was officially opened this week by the Minister of Health, Gaetan Pikioune.

MICS is a household survey implemented by countries under the programme developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to provide internationally comparable, statistically rigorous data on women and children.

The survey will be carried out by the Vanuatu Bureau of Statistics (VBoS) through the 60 plus enumerators that were trained by UNICEF officers with the VBoS last month, for the MICS field work.

The Vanuatu MICS 2023 comprises nationally representative sample survey designed to provide estimates for a large number of at least 200 indicators on the situation of children and women at national level.

Data will be collected from more than 4,760 households from the eight domains: TORBA, SANMA Rural and SANMA Urban, PENAMA, MALAMPA, SHEFA Rural and SHEFA Urban, and TAFEA, consisting of 238 clusters, with 20 households per cluster.

The main objective of this survey is to provide high quality data to assess the situation of the people, monitor progress towards national goals, and identify disparities for targeted interventions, as stated by Minister Pikioune.

According to the VBoS Director and Chief Statistician, Mr. Kap Calo Andy, the survey is commencing next week and is expected to finish in September. However, with the unstable weather patterns the country is currently faced with, he implied that a delay would be expected if this weather pattern continues.

He is advising the general public that as of next week, a trained, very professional, qualified field worker is expected to go around in the communities conducting the survey.

He relayed however that the enumerators were also advised not to force anyone into answering the questions, especially sensitive ones regarding sexual abuse, or domestic abuse.

Nevertheless, Mr. Andy, is urging the general public to comply and answer the questions asked by these enumerators, as the data collected from this census will help the government to assess ways in which the livelihood of the people could be improved.

The data collected will be drafted on November to December, with the final report to be disseminated next year around April and May.

Director Andy informed the Vanuatu Daily Post that the project is worth a total of VT90 million, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) under the New Zealand government as the main sponsor, including United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF.

He expressed his gratitude on behalf of the VBoS to the government of New Zealand, UNFPA, UNICEF, and the Vanuatu government for their generous support in ensuring that this project is to be carried out successfully.

This is the second time for the Government of Vanuatu to conduct the MICS. The first Vanuatu MICS was conducted in 2007-2008, which was also the first ever MICS to be conducted in the Pacific Region.