No fewer than 65,000 youths including Secondary School Students in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja have benefitted from Power Forward, a youth development initiative on life skills, health literacy and education through basketball.
The Officer in Charge, Africare Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Adah made this known on Friday at the finals of the sixth edition of Power Forward Finals at the MKO Abiola Stadium Abuja, an Initiative of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Africare and supported by ExxonMobil.
Adah explained that the Power Forward project since it’s inception in 2013 have greatly impacted on the lives of the students and community members through basketball and community programmes.
According to him, the project have reached over 65,000 youths in schools and vulnerable communities with life skills information such as leadership, respect and responsibility, malaria prevention strategies and treatment, environment sanitation awareness, hygiene education as well as menstrual hygiene management awareness campaign.
He informed that over 500 girls have also been trained in menstrual hygiene while 373 campaigns on public health have been carried out in communities.
The officer in charge further said that the sixth the 6th annual celebration will feature malaria jeopardy where ten schools will contest and the winner wins N200,000 to carry out malaria activity in any chosen community.
This according to him will encourage the students to be involved and interested in their community and be part of its development and spread the news on malaria prevention.
“This project has done a lot to improve the lives of the students and have imparted in other students in their schools. I urge other partners to emulate ExxonMobil in supporting the project to reach other schools in Abuja and the country entirely”, he urged.
The General Manager, Public and Government Affairs ExxonMobil Nigeria, Nigel Cookey-Gam while also commending the project for its impact noted that the bedrock of any nation is the youths. He stressed the need to harness and nurture them for a successful society.
The general manager also expressed hope that the skills being acquired by the youths under the Power Forward imitative will bring about sustainable development in their life and they will also use the it to develop their community and the country.
He further noted that health education is important for the development of any society and assured that ExxonMobil is committed to developing sustainable long term community assistance initiative in Nigeria on Malaria health education to reduce the burden as well as capacity building and training targeted at the youths.
“At ExxonMobil, we focus on health awareness, without a healthy population, you cannot have a successful population a healthy society is a better place for doing business”, he said.
Cookey-Gam further informed that Since 2000, ExxonMobil supported Programmes have also distributted more than 14 million insecticide treated bed nets, nearly 3 million diagnostics test, more than 4 million anti-malaria treatment and have reached more than 125 million people worldwide.
Also speaking, the Minister of sports and youth development, Mr Sunday Dare who was represented by the Director Sports Medicine,Dr. Paul Onyeudo said the project has not only promoted youth and sports development but as a massive step in the development of Nigeria.
“When you develop the youth you are doing a lot of service to this country, it’s important to note this “, he said.
Mr Sunny Moniedafe, Board Member 1, Secondary Education Board while also commending Power Foward called for more support to discover more talents in the country. According to him thousands of secondary school dropouts are on the streets and many of them have untapped talents.
He however adviced the competing students that the competition is not about winning but about participation.
Festus Ezeli, 2015 NBA champion applauded the Power Forward Project, he said the project teaches team work, education, leadership through Basketball.
“I got my education through basketball, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve through this game. I was in Nigeria 15 years ago and I came back as an NBA champion, I thank ExxonMobil and Africare for the initiative.”