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NBA, ExxonMobil scale up grassroots basketball to promote health, academics

The National Basketball Association, NBA Africa in collaboration with ExxonMobil and PanAfricare have taken basketball to the grass-root level in Nigeria, as a way of promote Health, economic and Academic skills among students through sports.

Vice President NBA Africa, Gbemisola Abudu while speaking at on Thursday at Power Forward 2022 Season Launch at Government Secondary School, Tundun Wada, Abuja, said the event is organised to enable students who are involved in basketball sport perform better in academic and life skills with the exposure to teachings and skills acquired from the sport.

“This programme aims to give young boys and girls the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball while also equipping them with life skills that are transformational to their lives.

“Youth empowerment is a big part of what we do in NBA, that’s why we have the junior NBA program. We believe in giving back to every community we do business with hence we intend to equip the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow with the right skills that would enable them be successful and productive members of the society,” said Abudu

According to the Vice President of NBA Africa, the Power Forward Program has reached out to 150,000 kids in the 9 year of its existence and will be extended to other parts of the country as time goes by. She also assured the unalloyed commitment of the NBA towards the continuous development of basketball at the grass-root level in Nigeria to promote Health, economic and Academic skills among students

ExxonMobil Business and government relations officer, Doyin Adelabu in his remarks noted that the power forward initiative which involves malaria awareness aims at creating awareness around basketball sport to fight malaria in schools and homes.

Adelabu said the partnership of ExxonMobil with the NBA and the PanAfricare is to assist in the fight against malaria which is one of the programmes ExxonMobil is involved in using basketball as a leverage power for young people.

“Through this programme, they learn sporting skills, health skills and life skills,” said Adelabu

Nanre Emeji, Secretary and Director, FCT secondary education board for her part said the significance of Power Forward programme with their partners ExxonMobil, PanAfricare, and the NBA cannot be over-emphasised because of it impact which she says it goes beyond the school walls.

Read also: Expand school feeding, reduce health, transport fees – IMF to Nigeria

According to Emeji, Power Forward started the project in Abuja with only five schools and have since moved on to become 25 participating schools in the FCT.

“It is so impactful because since the inception of the programme in our school, we have been able to have a lot of impact in the lives of the children that we are managing. We manage the senior secondary school in the FCT. Power forward started this project with five schools and today they are in 21schools in the FCT.

“If there were no such impacts I don’t think we would have been giving them approval to go into those schools with this project. This project comes in with basketball, which is the NBA part of it and they also teach life skills. I can also attest that through ExxonMobil the mosquitoes net hand sanitisers, they have donated it during the Covid project they have given us face mask, they have brought so much into our schools and I will stand here to tell you that the children are happy and all the children that are on this programme are children that are prefects and I am glad to let you know that the boys aspect of basketball in one of our schools are coming out champions right now they have come out top in Lagos under the Maltina championship and they are representing FCT at the end of this month in Lagos.

“These are children that have been groomed through the power forward project. So the power forward project has really impacted on the lives of our children in the schools and that is why we are not afraid, we are going to grant them more approval. If they want to go into all our schools we are ready to grant them all approvals because we know that they are partnering to ensure that these children come out as great leaders of tomorrow,” said Emeji

In a similar vein, Patrick Adah, PanAfricare Country director, noted that Basket ball have been identified as a veritable tool for the implementation of sustainable development goal.

Hence, the reason for using basket ball to attract the youth to get their attention for a meaningful inculcation.

“This basketball is used to get the attention of the youth, attract them and then during the session that they have we used that opportunity to give them life skill and also to create awareness on public health issues.

“So we find malaria champions even coming from the beneficiaries of this project. Those who are very knowledgeable about malaria, about HIV and issues of health intervention,” stressed Adah

The event which featured basketball clinic, youth mentoring session, and scrimmages, was attended by Government Secondary School Karu; Government Secondary School Zone 3; Raberto Schools Wuse2 (Private); Community Secondary School Asokoro (private), and Government Secondary School Tudun Wada Wuse Zone 4.

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