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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Global: UNICEF Evaluation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) -- Parts 1 and 2

Author: Beth Ann Plowman, Jean Christophe Fotso

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Parts 4 & 5’ of the report.


In recent years, demand for quality, internationally comparable data has grown considerably as part of the aid effectiveness agenda, greater accountability for results of development partnerships and in advance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target date of 2015. One key method to obtain such evidence is through comparable, cross-national household survey programs implemented to a high standard. However, such survey programs are extremely complex to organize and administer. Failure to properly manage and execute survey programs can result in data that is unreliable in various ways thereby representing a poor return on investment.

UNICEF plays an important role in data generation through its implementation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), an international household survey program which answers part of that evidence need. UNICEF serves as the lead agency for reporting on six MDGs related to children. Of the 48 indicators of progress toward the MDGs, the MICS provides data on twenty-three. UNICEF also helps to develop methodologies and indicators, maintain global databases, disseminate and publish relevant data. Together with a separate but related household survey program, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), MICS is a fundamental source for assessing progress towards national and global development achievements and challenges.


This evaluation seeks to provide UNICEF with an independent external view of its management and utilization of the MICS program. Particular emphases of the evaluation are the preparations for the fifth round of surveys and whether the critical governance strategies and technical elements are in place to ensure maximum quality, utilization, and sustainability over time.


The evaluation drew on mixed methods, both qualitative and quantitative, to address the issues included in the evaluation framework. The methods are outlined below and include structured document review, interviews and group discussions with key stakeholders via both face-to-face and electronic communications, country visits, an on-line expert-practitioner panel and data quality assessment. To better inform the inception phase, the evaluation team attended a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation workshop convened by the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office for country offices in the region (12-16 November 2012, Nairobi) participating in select sessions and conducting interviews.

Findings and Conclusions:

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys program has undergone significant changes between 2008 and 2012, a period corresponding to Round 3 completion and implementation of Round 4. Using the main recommendations of the 2008 MICS3 evaluation as a guide, this evaluation focused on a limited number of issues which deemed most significant to the performance and quality of the MICS. This section provides the team’s conclusions regarding these four issue areas.


The evaluation team has framed a set of recommendations based on the findings and conclusions above. For maximum utility, the recommendations are grouped according to their anticipated impact on survey operations, quality and timeliness as well as pacing.

Read more in Section 5 on Recommendations.

You will find related documents below as follows:

UNICEF Evaluation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) - Round 4, Part 1 - "Report"
UNICEF Evaluation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) - Round 4, Part 2 - "Part 2"
Annexes - "Part 3"
GEROS A - "Part 4"
GEROS B - "Part 5"


Full report in PDF

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