MICS as a roadmap for improving the state of child rights in Montenegro

Montenegro is the first country in the Balkans to conduct a new cycle of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), this time interviewing a total of 3,826 households across the country and an additional 854 households in Roma settlements.

Tina Dimić Raičević
MICS survey in Cetinje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

06 August 2019

Montenegro is the first country in the Balkans to conduct a new cycle of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), this time interviewing a total of 3,826 households across the country and an additional 854 households in Roma settlements.

MICS, which is conducted with the support of UNICEF, represents the second-largest survey after the population census. It is conducted every five years, with the aim of collecting statistically reliable and internationally comparable data on a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child development and the living conditions of children and families.

UNICEF representative to Montenegro Osama Khogali visiting interviewers in Cetinje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

During a training course on MICS data collection, the young interviewers met with UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Osama Khogali. They told him that this project was important, not only for Montenegrin society but also for their individual development because they have made new acquaintances, learned about how other people think and function, acquired new skills and opened the door to some new projects.

UNICEF representative to Montenegro visiting the interviewers in Cetinje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

During his meeting with the young people involved in the MICS, Khogali said that this was the first time he had seen so many young people engaged in this survey, although he had been worked for the United Nations for over 25 years and had been involved in numerous MICS research initiatives around the world.

Interviewers in the field in Cetinje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

After comprehensive training on the use of international methodology, interviewers are doing fieldwork with a clear task and instructions on how to collect data for MICS.

Interviewers in the field in Cetinje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

The interviewers interviewed a total of 3,826 households across the country and an additional 854 households in Roma settlements during October – December 2018.

MICS survey
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018

The data obtained from this survey will be used to assess the progress of Montenegro in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the relevant national strategy, as well as the country's progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

MICS launching
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

The key findings of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey were presented at the United Nations Eco-Building in Montenegro in June 2019. They show that progress has been made in certain areas compared to the previous iteration of the survey conducted in 2013.

Breastfeeding
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško MIljanić / 2010

For example, the percentage of children under the age of two who were breastfed during the first hour after birth has increased from 20% to 41% for the Roma population and from 14% to 24% for the general population. Since this particular percentage remains low, the latest data indicate that further efforts are needed to reform the health system, including improving maternity and home visitation services across the country.

Roma girl at school
UNICEF Montenegro / Risto Božović / 2013

The percentage of children from Roma settlements aged 6-14 years attending primary school has increased from 58% to 77% in the period 2013-2018. It is encouraging that the majority of children in Roma settlements attend primary education, and the priority for the coming period should be to include every child in primary education, as well as to increase the number of children from Roma settlements continuing their education..

Young man on the medical examination
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

The survey also highlights certain areas where backsliding has occurred. For example, the percentage of young people from the general population aged 15-24 years who know how to prevent HIV transmission has decreased compared to 2013. Five years ago, 48% of girls aged 15-24 years knew how HIV transmission could be prevented, while in last year's survey, 29% of them had been aware of this. In addition, the percentage of young men of the same age who have knowledge of this has decreased from 37% in 2013 to 23% in 2018. Similarly, in 2013, 6% of Roma young people aged 15-24 knew how HIV transmission can be prevented, while in 2018, twice less – 3% knew this.

Immunization
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

The misinformation about vaccines is spreading rapidly in the digital age. Many do not have the basic media literacy skills to identify and resist fake news. MICS shows that one in five persons in the age group 15-49 believes that vaccines can cause serious adverse reactions in children.

Healthcare professionals, national and local authorities, civil society and the media should work together to provide parents with reliable information about vaccines.

MIOCS launching in Podgorica
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

A large number of ministers, members of parliament and civil servants listened carefully to the presentation with key findings from the MICS, as they will use this information to develop new and improve existing programs and policies for the well-being of children in Montenegro.

UNICEF representative to Montenegro Osama Khogali
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Osama Khogali congratulated Montenegro on being the first country in the Balkans to launch a new global MICS research cycle and praised Montenegro's continued progress in the realization of the rights of the child. Khogali also reminded of areas that still need to be worked on.

The 2018 MICS survey showed that no progress had been made regarding the violence against children at home compared to five years ago. About two-thirds of children (66%) aged 1-14 years have been exposed to at least one form of psychological or physical punishing by their parents/caretakers. For this reason, UNICEF supports the introduction of positive parenting programs in Montenegro.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Financial System Milutin Simovi
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Financial System Milutin Simović said that the survey had identified progress in 20 sustainable development indicators. He also pointed out to significant progress achieved in the preschool coverage among the general population.

“We are particularly pleased with the increase in the coverage of children attending preschool education from 40% to 53%, recorded over the past five years. Even more significant growth was recorded in the northern region of Montenegro, where the increase was more than double – from 17% to 37%,” said Simović.

UNICEF volunteer - young reporter Nađa Lalović
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

UNICEF volunteer - young reporter Nađa Lalović was interested in hearing about the contribution young people gave to collecting data for MICS.

Director of the Statistical Office of Montenegro Gordana Radojević
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2019

Director of the Statistical Office of Montenegro Gordana Radojević replied that she was particularly proud and pleased with the participation of a large number of young people during the MICS and that their office had organized training for young interviewers in cooperation with UNICEF.

Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, which had been conducted by MONSTAT in Montenegro in 2018 with the technical assistance of UNICEF, and the financial support of the Government of Montenegro, UNICEF and UNHCR, clearly indicates areas where further work is needed. Those primarily relate to early childhood development, child protection, education, health, and living in a clean environment.