WNBA All-Star and Nigerian-American Chiney Ogwumike to Tip Off New Season of Basketball Development Pilot Program
ABUJA (May 14, 2015) – The National Basketball Association (NBA), Africare and ExxonMobil announced today the launch of the second year of Power Forward, a youth empowerment initiative that uses basketball to develop health, leadership and life skills among Nigerian youth.
The launch event took place at the Model Secondary School at Maitama in Abuja and was attended by WNBA All-Star and Nigerian-American Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun, ExxonMobil Nigeria Upstream Treasurer Anibor Kragha, NBA Vice President and Managing Director-Africa Amadou Gallo Fall, Nigerian Basketball Federation President Tijani Umar, former NBA Player and Nigerian National Team Captain Olumide Oyedeji and Africare Nigeria Country Manager Dr. Orode Doherty.
The Power Forward pilot program was launched in 2013 in partnership with the NBA, Africare, ExxonMobil and local school and education officials. Nigerian native and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, fellow countryman and former NBA player Obinna Ekezie, and three-time WNBA Champion Swin Cash attended the inaugural event. The program was originally implemented in 10 high schools in Abuja.
The curriculum incorporates leadership training and health awareness through a combination of classroom and athletic activities, with student evaluations at different stages of the initiative. In addition, each school has a coach assigned to oversee the curriculum, guide students through lessons, and monitor progress.
The second season of the Power Forward pilot program will include basketball games, clinics, life skills seminars and train-the-trainer sessions for the coaches, culminating in a 2015 Boys and Girls Power Forward final game.
The 6’4” Ogwumike was drafted by the Connecticut Sun with the first overall pick in last year’s WNBA Draft. The 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Ogwumike was also named an All-Star and led the Sun in scoring and rebounding in her first season in the league.
Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President and Managing Director-Africa:
“We are excited to be tipping off the second season of Power Forward and to have Chiney Ogwumike join us on this special occasion. The passion that Nigerian youth have for the game of basketball and the level of energy they bring to the program each day have been outstanding, and they inspire us and our partners to continue harnessing the power of our game to make positive social change.”
Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun:
“The Power Forward program is a great example of how the values of basketball are important in everyday life and help build social cohesion. I am thrilled to be back in Nigeria for the program’s second year and to work with these young boys and girls.”
Tijjani Umar, President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation:
“Programs such as Power Forward play an important role in developing our youth and help us develop healthy and productive future leaders. I look forward to the second season in Abuja and welcome Chiney Ogwumike to Nigeria.”
Darius Mans, President of Africare:
“Power Forward is making immediate changes in the lives of the youths who participate. The boys and girls are learning life skills that will not only improve their lives, but will influence for good the health and opportunities of their families and communities. The support from local stakeholders heading into the program’s second year has been tremendous. Africare is committed to youth empowerment through innovative partnerships like Power Forward that leverage the convening power and attendant benefits of basketball to develop Nigeria’s and Africa’s future leaders.”
Nolan O’Neal, ExxonMobil Nigeria Affiliates Managing Director/Chairman:
“The Power Forward program provides young Nigerians with the opportunity to help develop important life skills through an innovative community-based program. The skills acquired through this initiative will stay with these youths throughout their lives, and enable them to make a positive difference wherever they are.”
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 benefited tens of millions of men, women and children through thousands of projects across 36 countries in Africa by integrating our community-based core expertise with our technical specialties of Agriculture and Health, and always prioritizing the cross-cutting themes of Economic Development; Nutrition; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Women’s Empowerment; and Youth Empowerment. Visit www.africare.org for more information.
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 2012, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $256 million in contributions worldwide. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.
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 TV, which is available in 60 million U.S. homes, and NBA.com, which recorded 26.9 billion page views during the 2013-14 season, with more than half of all visitors originating from outside of North America. The NBA is the No. 1 professional sports league on social media, with more than 820 million likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league and its teams and players have donated more than $242 million to charity, completed more than 3 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 915 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play.
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