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SPARC – Access for Sharing Knowledge: 'ASK'

What is the 'ASK' helpdesk?

The 'ASK' helpdesk provides advice and support on governance reforms to Nigerian state governments. They simply have to ask for it. ASK's main focus is on those states that are not among the 10 that SPARC normally works with.

How can you access ASK?

To ask for help on a specific subject, please fill in our Query Form: – Print and return form (Word) | Fill in form online

If you have any further questions after contacting the helpdesk: Request for further support must be submitted by a senior state government officer: – Print and return form (Word) | Fill in form online

Please return completed forms to us at:

State Partnership for Accountability,
Responsiveness and Capability
14, Oguda Close, Off Lake Chad Crescent,

You can also contact us by phone on 0809 5643426, or email our dedicated email address ask@sparc-nigeria.com


In what areas can we help?

Enquiries are restricted to areas we work in and these include:

  • Development of policies and strategies
  • Management of public finances
  • Management of public services
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Knowledge management in governance reform.

Technical experts and practitioners have been identified in these areas and will respond to any queries received. Among these technical experts are state government officials who have experience in managing reform processes and are change agents in existing SPARC states.

ASK supports requests where the probability that other states will make the same request is high. In these cases, ASK will add responses to requests to the SPARC knowledge database as resources for future requests.

Why have we set it up?

During the course of the programme, Nigerian partners and SPARC have generated a wealth of information, knowledge and experience, and set up processes and procedures to improve governance, often surmounting considerable challenges in the process. In order to extract the utmost value from this unique and growing accumulation of know-how, we are finding new ways of sharing programme outputs to influence wider change.

Our primary aim in setting up the 'ASK' helpdesk is to stimulate demand and share actual experiences in governance reform initiatives with states not directly involved in the SPARC programme.

How does it work?

The diagram outlines how 'ASK' will work – starting with a virtual enquiry service which may lead to face-to-face contact with technical experts or those who have already led reforms. All we ask is that the enquiries be as specific as possible to enable us to provide the most relevant feedback and information. We also plan to provide the contact details of those who have led governance reforms in other states. We aim to provide you with a response within 11 working days.

Some examples of useful information

A diverse range of tools has already been produced by SPARC in specific governance areas. We have also supported state governments in producing documents and tools which can be accessed by contacting 'ASK'.

Some of these include the SPARC Resource Centre Pocket Guide and CD, HRM Resource Suite, and 'How To' guides on developing state plans and medium-term sector strategies. Other tools include a public financial management database for the 10 SPARC states and a revenue projection tool.

Guiding principles for support

To avoid conflicting advice, SPARC does not respond to requests from states where other development partners support strong governance reform programmes.

SPARC considers one or more of the following forms of support, depending on demand and the resources available:

  • Providing relevant information from our resource base (what we have already as well as new information we become aware of)
  • Providing mentoring advice on the use of tools and methodologies for governance reform
  • Identifying consultants who know how to support the use of such tools, and whom state government could seek to engage if they wished
  • Providing virtual (arms-length) support on how to operationalise technical aspects of governance reforms
  • Brokering relations with development partners and partners in SPARC focus states
  • Supporting brief exchange visits to observe specific reforms in other states and issuing invitations to key meetings or events in states where SPARC works
  • Supporting a visit for a state official to discuss a specific reform with 'practitioners' who have already led this kind of reform in states where SPARC works
  • Encouraging attendance and participation in relevant workshops organised by SPARC.

What SPARC does not do

Due to limited resources, SPARC does not support:

  • Consultancy advice of more than three days per request
  • Visits beyond Nigeria by government officials
  • Costs of hiring venues for training events
  • Purchase of any equipment, including IT hardware and software.
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