– Health Literacy and Life Skills Development Program Continues to Make an Impact in Abuja –
ABUJA, Sept. 28, 2015 – ExxonMobil, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Africare will celebrate the second year of the Power Forward pilot program, a youth engagement initiative that uses basketball to develop health literacy and life skills among Nigerian youth, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 at National Stadium in Abuja. Power Forward began in November 2013 and has been implemented in 10 secondary schools in Abuja.
Former Nigerian NBA and WNBA players Obinna Ekezie, Olumide Oyedeji and Mactabene Amachree will attend the day-long event, which will feature four schools playing in final games for boys and girls, public health teaching and recognition of standout students in the program, as well as aerial dunking performances by the Atlanta Hawks Sky Squad. In conjunction with the basketball activities, bed nets will be distributed and malaria rapid diagnostic tests will be administered to those attending.
“The life skills and public health awareness acquired and developed by the youth involved in Power Forward will remain with them throughout their lives and will be critical to their future success,” said Chenfa Dombin, Senior Director, Program Operations and Youth Empowerment, Africare. “Africare is committed to supporting the development of Nigeria’s leaders of tomorrow, starting today using innovative youth development initiatives like Power Forward.”
“I have always had a problem with communicating and expressing myself but Power Forward taught me the importance of effective communication and speaking properly and clearly,” said David Momoh, a 15-year-old Power Forward student from Bicados School. “Using the lessons taught by my coaches I can now express myself confidently and without fear. As a result people understand me better and I was able to show this at a Power Forward community initiative with a lot of important people where I talked about malaria and how I now use a bed net to protect myself when I never did so before I joined the program.”
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Power Forward, which will continue through December 2015, teaches health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students. Nigerian native and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon, fellow countryman and former NBA player Obinna Ekezie, and three-time WNBA Champion Swin Cash attended the inaugural event. WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike and Oyedeji attended the launch of the second season, which was held at the Model Secondary School in Maitama in Abuja last May.
Olumide Oyedeji was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft. He spent two years in Seattle before playing for the Orlando Magic during the 2002-2003 season. He is the captain of the Nigerian national team that won its first ever Afrobasket title last month.
Obinna Ekezie was selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft and went on to play for the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks.
Mactabene Amachree is a former WNBA player and the first Nigerian player to play in WNBA. She played for the Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics during her WNBA career.
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has established a major international presence with offices in 13 markets worldwide, games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2014-15 season featured a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA.com and NBA Mobile, which achieved record traffic during the 2014-15 season, as well as NBA TV. The NBA is the No. 1 professional sports league on social media, with more than 875 million likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for development, and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2014, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $279 million in contributions worldwide. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community
Africare is a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to addressing African development and policy issues by working in partnership with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities. Since 1970, Africare has provided well over $1 billion of assistance and support through more than 2,500 projects in Agriculture & Food Security; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Women’s Empowerment; and Health, HIV & AIDS that have impacted millions of beneficiaries in 36 countries in Africa. In Nigeria today, Africare implements core malaria programs in six states with an expanding footprint covering Southern Nigeria’s high burden malaria states working with both the public and private sectors, targeting pregnant women and children under five years old, mobilizing communities towards elimination through 2020.
In partnership with ExxonMobil, Africare also implements malaria prevention in the workplace programs that attend to communities of ExxonMobil vendors and suppliers
Africare’s malaria-in-schools projects focus on educating youth and school children on malaria prevention and management, including the use of treated bed nets for malaria prevention, with behavior change communication through community outreach in public and private schools in Nigeria’s high burden Niger Delta states. Visit www.africare.org for more information.