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Nov 29, 2016

MICS Survey Finds Improvement in Key Belizean Indicators

UNICEF assists countries to collect and analyze data to fill gaps in the monitoring of the situation of children and women through its international household survey called the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey or commonly known as MICS. Every five years, it undertakes the survey in over five thousand households across Belize and then the data is used to develop programs and implement policies to address needs. Today, UNICEF presented the results in the latest MICS. They say there have been some improvements, but there are still areas where a lot more work needs to be done. Andrea Polanco spoke with UNICEF social policy specialist. Here’s her report:


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today, UNICEF presented the results of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). It is a survey conducted in partnership with the Statistical Institute of Belize. It is done every five years to collect information on the well-being of women and children, by extension, families. The areas covered in the survey include health, education, and violence.



IlijaTalev, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF

“The reason why, as our motto suggests, we are collecting this evidence to improve the well-being, in order for us to design effective policies that would then address any of the issues we identify through this survey. So, specifically, today we are going together with our partners in the country, government, civil society, media, etc. We are going and exploring the data, module by module, in the different domains. Together, with experts, who are helping us analyze the trends; Because, as I said, we conducted the same survey five years ago and to look at some of the changes that have happened in society over time and to help us identify why these changes have taken place and what we can attribute, especially, the good results to if it is to policy or some of the activities that we as UNICEF, the country or all of the stakeholders have undertaken to improve the well-being. And where we have noticed perhaps some negative results, we are trying to identify what is the reason and then what is it we can do better in the next five year cycle.”


UNICEF says that comparing the previous survey to this one, there are several gains made. A few areas where there’s improvement is early childhood education, as well as HIV knowledge and practices.



“There’s a number of improvement. I think across the board we are looking at improvement in the general well-being. Now, when you look at the individual domains, you notice for example, one of the things we measure is attendance in early childhood education. We have noticed that that has gone up and we are very proud because I think a lot of our efforts and the country has invested a lot in this and we are hoping to see an even greater increase. I think we went from about thirty something percent attendance to about fifty something percent attendance in early childhood education; which is excellent because providing children with a good start in life is something we all look forward to. We are also looking at improvements in the knowledge and practices regarding HIV, sexual behavior.  We are also looking at improvement in the area of violence, albeit a small once, because we are still seeing from the survey a very high level of violence against children; physical, psychological, etc…which means that we have commit more resources, more financial but also human resources to address the issue of violence. Raising awareness about the consequences of violence, what are the risks for children who are exposed to violence and the families where violence occurs and what are the long term consequences for society as a whole as well.”


And to double up on the grounds gained in past five years, UNICEF is taking a different approach with findings and recommendations from the results of this latest survey.



“This time we are adopting a very different approach. The reason why we are gathered here with our partners today is because we don’t just want to simply disseminate this information and essentially provide it to the partners or to the people just for the purpose of information. This goes beyond that. It is more than information and it is also about what we can practically do in terms of policies, actions, commitments. We are making a commitment as an organization to work to improve the status of women and children in Belize. What are some of the practical solutions to some of the real problems people are feeling? So, whatever comes out of this conference and we have been in that room now for a few hours and a lot of very good recommendations have already been generated and we hope then to turn these recommendations into policies and programs. We have just prepared our next five year program with broad outcomes and goals. What this event is helping us to do is to turn those outcomes and goals into concrete actions. And we translate those outputs into actions by signing specific programs with line ministries, with civil society organizations and they help us implement actions directly with children.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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