State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC), UK AID’s core governance reform programme in Nigeria, is coming to an end in April 2016. To celebrate the various governance reform resources developed during programme implementation, which took seven years, SPARC organised an end-of-programme learning event, “Expanding Horizons,” for state and federal government partners on April 12, 2016, at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
According to Mark Walker, SPARC’s National Programme Manager, “SPARC has had an exciting journey of governance reform learning with government in Nigeria. Together we have built skills and capacity, and public money and the public service are now delivering better results for Nigerian people. We now have the tools and resources to help expand and deepen governance reform to deliver even better services for even more people, and will be doing this together as SPARC moves into the next generation of DFID governance support in Nigeria.”
At the event, there were valuable benefits imparted on participants regarding, reform experiences, demonstrating improvements in service delivery after using tools governments had developed with SPARC support. SPARC’s legacy Resource Centre, a compendium of locally-developed governance tools and resources available online and offline in hardcopy, was launched at the event.
Dr. Joe Abah, Director General of the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, also shared global reform experiences during his presentation, “Swimming Against the Tide: Lessons from Public Service Reforms in Developing Countries.”
International partners invited to share knowledge sharing perspectives include Alan Stanley, from the Institute of Development Studies. He shared lessons from Eldis, an online platform with over 20 years experience in delivering online tools for development.
Accodring to him, cutting-edge research, knowledge and evidence are crucial in shaping the changes needed for broader vision to be realised, and to support people, societies and institutions must be ready to navigate the challenges ahead.
Participants saw a film from Liberia’s Accountability Film Institute, based on the World’s First Accountability Incubator, a citizen-driven approach to holding governments accountable for improved service delivery. Also, Voices for Change, a UK-AID funded programme inspired participants to stand up and speak out about gender inequalities, through their presentation, “Selling Gender like Milo.”
Peter Ross, DAI’s project director, closed the event with the following words, “Looking back, we can celebrate our achievements – captured so well in SPARC’s legacy product – the final Resource Centre. This is an excellent example of the best of SPARC – a practical and easily accessible set of tools that have been tried and tested over recent years and proven by SPARC and other state partners as they’ve planned and implemented their governance reforms.
Looking ahead, we all recognise that a great many challenges remain and we appreciate that we still have a long way to go. As SPARC closes we look forward to continuing the journey, embarking together with our partners on an exciting new programme. Meeting the challenges that lie ahead, we plan to build on our achievements and the lessons we have learnt.“
SPARC is an initiative of the Nigerian and UK Governments working for good governance to reduce the level of poverty in Nigeria. It supports governance reforms in ten of Nigeria’s 36 states: Anambra, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, Yobe and Zamfara with an estimated combined population of over 51 million.
To help push forwards its work in states, SPARC also works with the Federal Government agencies that back up governance reform at state level.
SPARC is managed by DAI, a global development company working on the frontlines of international development consulting.