Kosovo* 2019-2020 MICS data to be launched in November

Maintaining international quality standards critical to drive policy decisions and investments

Fiona Kelmendi
UNICEF/2020/N. Maxhuni
06 October 2020

Six months after the completion of fieldwork for the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) in Kosovo, and with the survey being cleared by the UNICEF Headquarters (HQ) as meeting all expectations from 25 international standards, experts from Kosovo institutions, Civil Society Organisations and other partners got together to discuss preliminary data and findings in an unprecedented global COVID-19 reality. While until March 2020 MICS interviewers were going from door to door to talk to 6,556 families inside their homes about their wellbeing, the September 2020 Data Interpretation and Report Compilation (DIRC) workshop was held over four days online via Zoom.

With over 200 indicators and tabulations compiled for the 2019-2020 MICS with general population and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the workshop participants shared their enthusiasm as they discussed the preliminary findings. All participants were eager to compare the indicators on the situation of children, women and men with MICS data from six years ago, and discussing other indicators that for the first time shed light on the situation of children, women and men in Kosovo, such as foundational learning, parental involvement, water quality and more.

The main goal of the DIRC workshop was to validate the findings of the survey and assess them with line ministries and technical experts, which is why the discussions were thorough – every data point, every table, every trend was identified and examined with specialists and colleagues from the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, line Ministries, National Institute of Public Health, Civil Society Organisations, UN agencies and other partners, UNICEF HQ, Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO) and Kosovo Office.

To ensure maximum effectiveness and participation by technical experts, the discussion was organized in thematic sessions, led by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics and facilitated jointly with the UNICEF Kosovo Office. Adjusting to the new normal did not reduce the work efficiency – screens were shared, the tabulations were available online, questions were asked immediately via Zoom chatbox, and participants were logging in from all around the globe.

The workshop was an important milestone in technically interpreting data and clearing initial findings, and it allowed for the finalization of the tabulations with involvement of global, regional, and local experts. Representatives from the Kosovo institutions discussed about the health, education, protection and wellbeing preliminary findings and discussed the need for targeted interventions on early childhood education, child health, inclusion of children with disabilities and the need for quality outcomes in education for young people.

Avni Kastrati, Director of Department of Social Statistics in the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, highlighted that tremendous work had been done on MICS, in cooperation with many stakeholders, and that the active participation of Kosovo institutions representatives during the workshop is a testament to their commitment on operationalizing the data in the context of national development planning. Following the DIRC workshop, the Kosovo Agency of Statistics with support from UNICEF will work on the compilation of the final report, planned to be launched in late November 2020.

The very first MICS in Kosovo was conducted in 2013-2014, producing a wealth of previously unrecorded, statistically sound, and internationally comparable data on women, men and children in Kosovo. It generated evidence instrumental not only in strategic planning and policy development, but also in progress reporting on Sustainable Development, as it accounts for over 50 per cent of all survey-based SDG indicators. Most importantly, it became the principal source of data for subsequent targeted investment projects in Kosovo, with Murat Sahin, Head of UNICEF Kosovo Office emphasizing how MICS 2013-2014 data was critical in ensuring Kosovo’s eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding.

MICS’ strategic importance in developing human capital was recognized by the Kosovo institutions and further reaffirmed with the decision to go ahead with a new round of MICS in 2019 and have it co-financed by the Ministry of Finance. The 2013-2014 MICS had set a gold standard for surveys in Kosovo, both in terms of quality and use of data, and now the expectations are even higher for the 2019-2020 MICS survey report.

Data collection for the 2019-2020 MICS had in fact been concluded on the same day that the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Kosovo, so this data will serve as a pre-pandemic baseline for the situation of children, women and men in Kosovo. Additionally, with more indicators compiled compared to the previous MICS round, it will also inform a stronger baseline for monitoring the SDG progress as well as the Kosovo National Development Strategy. This is why the launching of the 2019-2020 MICS survey comes with full commitment from Kosovo institutions for utilization of data to inform policy making and progress monitoring, garnering more international attention to Kosovo and serving as a roadmap for more social investment.

UNICEF thanks the Ministry of Finance, UN Women, UNFPA, UNKT and the Millennium Foundation Kosovo for supporting the 2019-2020 MICS.

DIRC workshop
DIRC Workshop facilitated by UNICEF Office in Kosovo and the Kosovo Agency of Statistics.