26 Sep 2014

2030 now: reflections on the 2014 Social Good Summit

Social Good Summit Banner2 Days. 45 Sessions. 97 speakers. An audience that wants to think critically about the issues the world faces today and what it will look like in 2030. That was the setup for this year’s Social Good Summit, hosted by Mashable and the UN foundation in New York City during UN week.

On September 21-22, 2014, I was in the audience, which was both exhausting and exhilarating. As with anything involving social media, the action was non-stop. The agenda was fast-paced (no, really, things were scheduled in 5 minute increments) and topics ranged from women’s empowerment to conflict-free technology, from maternal and child health to the realities of climate change.

But there was a common thread connecting speakers as diverse as Dr. Jim Kim, Helen Clark, Nicholas Kristof, and Dr. Donald Hopkins. Each speaker took the stage and proclaimed the absolute imperative of collecting quality data. It is data that will allow us to accurately measure the progress we’ve made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Data will drive decisionmaking not only for the next set of goals, but on policies and programs that shape the way the world looks in 2030, 2050, and beyond.

The MDGs have been touted as being widely successful in ramping up initiatives to tackle the world’s biggest problems. But without many of the indicators included in DHS surveys on maternal and child health, HIV, malaria, and women’s empowerment, we wouldn’t know how to create meaningful metrics to track them. We wouldn’t know what we’ve achieved and where we’ve fallen short.

Of course, the presentations were about much more than just data collection and use. We heard stories about education and connecting classrooms half a world away. Richard Curtis persuaded participants to “star” in his next movie. Alicia Keys wrapped up day one by speaking about her new “We are here” campaign and performing the song she wrote to spur the movement. She urged the audience to consider our interconnectedness and reflect about how each one of us could think less about “I” and more about “we.”

On Monday, as the Social Good Summit began its second day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflected:

“Your ideas can help make #2030Now. It’s more than a hashtag—it’s a vision.”

Everyone has their own ideas about what the future will bring, and many presenters at the Social Good Summit, including Richard Stengel, appealed to the audience with urgency. In the end, these calls for action reflect the most important aspect of the Summit, that the sharing and learning isn’t over. We can all reflect on what “2030 now” means and how the choices we make now will affect our collective future.

Did you have a chance to participate in the Social Good Summit, in NYC or online? What does #2030Now mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

And—because this is about social media after all – #ICYMI, here’s the video feed, so you can catch up and join the conversation.

16 Sep 2014

Ngonelewa! We are together!

Journalist Training in Comoros, June 2014

Journalist Training in Comoros, June 2014

By Mercedes Sayagues

When was the last time you heard about the Comoros islands in the news?

Maybe the Yemenia Air airplane that crashed into the ocean near Moroni, the capital, in 2006?  Or the hijacked Ethiopian Airways plane that crash-landed near its airport in 1996? Or the series of mercenary-led coups in the 1990s?

But in this decade, Comoros has been largely peaceful and peaceful countries don’t generally make the news.

2012 Comoros DHS

2012 Comoros DHS

While the world may have forgotten about the charming Comoros archipelago located north of Madagascar, the country decided it needed to know more about itself, so it commissioned a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) – its second ever. The first one dates from 1996 – 18 years ago.

Work on the DHS began in 2012 and the final results were presented at a national seminar in Moroni, the capital, in early June 2014.

Comoros National Seminar, June 2014

Comoros National Seminar, June 2014

1996 Comoros DHS

1996 Comoros DHS

Afterwards, I facilitated a two-day training for 17 journalists (print, radio and broadcast) from Ngazidwa, Nzwani and Mwali islands. They were thrilled to have reliable data about their country, their islands, and their communities.

The 2012 survey reveals progress, especially in child health, women’s education and household standards of living.  Remarkably, in some areas, like maternal mortality and gender equality in high school, Comoros ranks higher than other countries in the region. There was lots of good humored clapping among the group when they saw those tables.

Among the good news:

  • In 1996, 52% of women gave birth with assistance of trained health staff. In 2012, this figured had climbed to 82%.
  • Under-five mortality – the likelihood of dying between birth and five years of age – was halved, from 104 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 50 in 2012.
  • Total fertility, the average number of children per woman, declined from 5.1 in 1996 to 4.3 in 2012.
  • More than 2 in 3 households have electricity, compared to 3 in 10 in 1996.
  • Seven in ten households own a cell phone, 6 in 10 own a TV, and 5 in 10 own a radio.

The downside:

  • The proportion of children fully vaccinated rose from 55% in 1996 to 62% in 2012, but is still too low.
  • Only 14% of married women age 15-49 use a modern method of contraception. On Mwali island, this number drops to 9%.
  • 32% of currently married women have an unmet need for family planning.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 women and less than 2 in 10 men agree that wife beating is justified for certain reasons.
  • Only about 3 in 10 households use improved (and not shared) toilets.

On the second day of the training, journalists prepared stories for June 16, The Day of the African Child. Working in groups, they selected topics to explore, which included child vaccination, malnutrition, education, and infant mortality.

The group was lively, participative, and showed a sparkling sense of humor. I taught them one very useful word in Shangaan (an African language from Southern Mozambique) and they taught me the equivalent in Comorian. These became our training key words: Hakumana! Ngonelewa! Ok, we are together!

Mercedes Sayagues is a journalist, editor, media trainer, former Knight Health Fellow in Mozambique and a consultant for The DHS Program. Born in Uruguay, she has lived in Africa for 22 years and is based in Pretoria, South Africa. She speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian and some Shangaan.

09 Sep 2014

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Niger

In September 2013, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Niger. This is the fifth in a series of interviews with visitors to DHS headquarters. Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!



Pays d’origine:



Institut National de la Statistique  (INS) et Coordination Intersectorielle de Lutte contre les IST/VIH/SIDA

Quand vous ne travaillez pas, quel est l’endroit  où vous préférez aller: 

NOMAOU : Les magasins et les restaurants à côté de notre hôtel.

HASSANE : Magasins, Centres historiques (Washington)

La première fois que vous avez travaillée sur des données du “The DHS Program:

MODIELI J’ai eu à faire plusieurs études approfondies à partir des données de DHS ; j’ai surtout travaillé avec DHS 2006 sur mon mémoire de démographie.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a le plus agréablement surpris lors de votre séjour au programme DHS? 

NOMAOU: Le fait qui m’a le plus surpris est l’organisation du travail pour finaliser le rapport et les différents documents (Affiche, Note de synthèse, le dépliant)

OUMAROU: Une bonne organisation de travail, chacun sait ce qu’il doit faire.

Qu’est-ce qui vous manque le plus quand vous êtes ici?
OUMAROU & HASSANE: Ma famille.

JOHOA: La convivialité familiale

2012 Burundi MIS

2012 Burundi MIS

Quelle est la plus grande différence entre le bureau du “The DHS Program” et votre bureau dans votre pays?

NOMAOU: Ce n’est pas à comparer. ICF International est une grande entreprise alors l’INS Niger est une structure de l’Etat.

JOHOA: Le calme, café et amuse-gueule pour tout le monde.

Quelle est votre page de couverture préférée?  

MODIELI: J’ai pas pu prendre connaissance des pages de couverture de tous les pays, mais parmi celle que j’ai consultées celle du Burundi me parait bien.

2012 NIger DHS

2012 NIger DHS

HASSANE: Celle que nous avons choisie pour le Niger

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi?

NOMAOU: Mon chapitre préféré est celui  relatif à la nutrition des enfants de moins de cinq ans parce que la malnutrition est l’une des causes de mortalité infantile.

OUMAROU: Le chapitre sur la mortalité des enfants de moins de cinq ans parce qu’à partir de ce chapitre, on voit les progrès accomplis par notre pays en matière de santé des enfants.

JOHOA: Santé de l’enfant, si enfant malade rien ne va.

Quel est le problème de population ou de santé qui vous intéresse le plus, et pourquoi?

MODIELI: Le paludisme car c’est la première cause de morbidité chez les enfants de moins de 5 ans au Niger.

OUMAROU: C’est le niveau de fécondité des femmes qui est stagnent depuis la première EDSN1992. Il va falloir mener une étude sur les déterminants de cette fécondité, mais aussi sur la baisse de la mortalité des enfants de moins de cinq ans qui sont d’ailleurs deux phénomènes liés.

HASSANE: Planification familiale, VIH/SIDA, Accouchement en milieu hospitalier, amélioration de la couverture sanitaire

Comment espérez-vous que les données de l’EDS sur votre pays seront utilisées ?

OUMAROU :  J’espère qu’elles vont être utilisées par ceux qui devraient le faire à savoir le pouvoir public, la société civile, les étudiants et chercheurs ainsi que les journalistes qui auront la tâche de bien expliquer le niveau des principaux indicateurs.

JOHOA : Les données de DHS seront utilisées par les autorités administratives, les organismes internationaux, les ONGs, les étudiants …(biens préssés d’avoir les résultats définitifs).

HASSANE : Les responsables des différents programmes vont faire une analyse de la situation (voir le niveau des indicateurs, dégager des priorités et programmer des actions puis chercher des financements auprès des partenaires.)

Qu’avez–vous appris en travaillant avec “The DHS Program“?

MODIELI : La maîtrise de la structure des questionnaires, et surtout la familiarisation avec les variables utilisées.

NOMAOU : Travailler avec ICF international permet de mettre en place une bonne organisation du travail sur le terrain et surtout de collecter des bonnes informations ce qui conduira au calcul des indicateurs de qualité.

OUMAROU : Beaucoup de choses. En tant que Directeur Technique pendant l’EDSN-MICS 2006 et l’EDSN-MICS 2012, j’ai appris la rigueur qui entoure le processus de réalisation de cette enquête, de l’échantillonnage jusqu’à la dissémination des résultats. C’est une bonne expérience dans la carrière d’un statisticien démographe.

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

The DHS Program, ICF
530 Gaither Road, Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20850
Tel: +1 (301) 407-6500 • Fax: +1 (301) 407-6501

Anthropometry measurement (height and weight) is a core component of DHS surveys that is used to generate indicators on nutritional status. The Biomarker Questionnaire now includes questions on clothing and hairstyle interference on measurements for both women and children for improved interpretation.