Meet Gifton. You might be seeing the kindly 43-year-old interview supervisor and his colleagues in your community over the next few months. They are crisscrossing Jamaica interviewing 7,600 households gathering data that will enable partners UNICEF, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) with technical support from the Statistical institute of Jamaica (STATIN) to assess and make decisions that help improve the lives of children and women.
What do you like best about MICS?
The experience has allowed me to travel, meet new people and understand more about the difference in our culture. We go out to some of the areas and interact with people, to let them know what we are doing and the importance of the data we are collecting. Sometimes we just sit and speak with people about these things, and we could build rapport with the folks.
I’m the supervisor for the St Elizabeth team. I ensure that my team has all the equipment and things that they need to carry with their duties. I am also responsible for chauffeuring and locating the households, and also to ensure that my interviewers are safe, and protected.
What made you to decide to participate in this survey?
I decided to participate for two main reasons. One, I love my Jamaican people. I want to see better for all my Jamaican people. And the other is that I really want to see is changes happening for our children!
How has been your experience with MICS?
The experience has been very overwhelming. We have gone to approximately seven to eight different clusters so far – a cluster consists of one or more communities, from which 20 households are randomly selected to be surveyed – and I found that each cluster we enter, the experience is a little bit different because of the diversity in our culture. So, I look forward to getting new experiences when entering a new cluster every day, or every week.
What are the challenges?
The challenges we find is that some people might be somewhat reluctant. Some of the houses, based on the descriptions we get, are somewhat a little bit hard to find than others. Sometimes when this happens, we must go back to the starting point, or back to the last house, and walk and count the houses again, just to ensure that we can find the right one that we need to interview. That is our main challenge, ensuring that we find every household. Households are randomly selected from the database of the population census report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN)
What UNICEF is doing
The MICS teams will be in the field collecting data across Jamaica for another four to six weeks. We are collecting information about children’s access to a healthy, safe environment, good healthcare and education. These data will help us to understand which aspects of our children’s development we need to place greater focus on, to ensure they have the best possible foundation to become productive, happy citizens.