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Monday, 22 November 2021

NBA, ExxonMobil, PanAfricare Marks Power Forward Anniversary with Donation of Sports Kits to Schools in Abuja


In its drive to positively impact youths in Nigeria through Basketball and other ideas, Power Forward, a youth development initiative of ExxonMobil, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the international NGO, PanAfricare recently held its 8th anniversary in Abuja with Basketball competition amongst schools.

The project also donated jerseys to 30 boys’ and 12 girls’ teams, and handwashing stations to participating schools. To date, the program has cumulatively reached more than 150,000 youths in schools and vulnerable communities with life skills information, provided more than 11,000 people with malaria prevention strategies and treatment, and established 134 handwashing stations.  More than 9,500 students have been engaged in air pollution awareness campaigns with more than 2,000 female students from the 30 schools engaged in a Menstrual Hygiene Management Awareness Program.

The 8th edition of the Power Forward project saw students from 30 secondary schools made up of 42 teams (30 boys’ and 12 girls’ teams, modelled after the NBA and WNBA respectively) compete in a total of 168 games in the Power Forward Basketball League.

Glisten International Academy Jahi, hosted Government Secondary School Karu, in the girl’s final and Government Secondary School Karu, tackled Total Child Model School Dutse, in the boy’s final. In the all-girls final, Government Secondary School Karu, carried the day with 15 to 5 points, while Total Child Model School defeated their opponent 17 to 14 points to lift the boy’s category trophy.

The Acting Secretary/ Director of Administration & Finance, FCT Education Secretariat, Mallam Leremoh Abdulrazaq called for the promotion of youth development, and support for children to harvest the potential within them, noting that every child is differently endowed, but with the right opportunity, each child is able to unlock his/ her talents. He also added that “The newly commissioned basketball court, in Government Secondary School (GSS) Gwarinpa, Life Camp; will no doubt produce professional basketballers of international repute”.

Speaking at the event, Director Basketball Operations, NBA-Africa; Kita Mutungulu, disclosed that the initiative since inception has proven to be worth the energy and investment, it has enhanced leadership monitoring and channeling of youth energy towards sport, especially basketball, as seen in the level of commitment and participation of the students from various schools.

He applauded the partners ExxonMobil and PanAfricare for their commitment and donations to the idea, which has helped to expand and grow the project annually

In his comments, Country Director, PanAfricare, Dr Patrick Adah, noted that the Power Forward idea has positively impacted students in various areas including sports, academics, leadership and behavioral patterns.

Power Forward program was inaugurated in Nigeria FCT on November 19, 2013 with a Tip-Off event featuring NBA and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) representatives, Nigerian policymakers and influential personalities.

The NBA and WNBA players and legends, who have participated in the program to date include Hall of Fame Hakeem Olajuwon, former NBA players Obinna Ekezie (current CEO of Wakanow), Olumide Oyedeji, Kelenna Azubuike, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Jerome Williams and Festus Ezeli, WNBA’s Chiney Ogwumike of the L.A. Sparks, and former WNBA players Evelyn Akhator, Mactabene Amachree and Astou Ndiaye.

Between 2000 and 2020, ExxonMobil has committed more than $170 million in grants to the Malaria cause. Reaching more than 125 million people throughout Africa and Asia with over 15 million bed nets, 5.6 million doses of antimalarial drugs and more than 4 million rapid-diagnostic kits

Power Forward teaches health literacy, malaria prevention and hygiene promotion, and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programmes to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students.

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