In line with its commitment to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa, United Bank for Africa, through its foundation, UBA Foundation has continuously improved the lives of less privileged persons with particular focus on environment, education, economic empowerment and special projects. Recently, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that through its education scholarship initiative that has been changing lives for over a decade, a 15-year-old Usongobong Paul of FGGC Ikot- Obio Itong, Akwa-Ibom State, emerged overall winner of this year’s National Essay Competition beating 11 others to clinch N5million worth of scholarship to study in any African university of her choice
For 15-year-old Usongobong Paul from Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Ikot- Obio Itong, Akwa-Ibom State, her emergence as overall winner of this year’s UBA Foundation National Essay Competition was nothing short of amazing.
Paul beat 11 other finalists to clinch the best prize at the competition, which had over 5,000 entries from Senior Secondary Schools students across the country. For her efforts through her essay on “Nigeria and The Brain Drain: The Interface Between a Better Life and a Loss of Fortunes”, she was rewarded with a scholarship worth N5m to study in any African university of her choice and a laptop at the event recently held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre in UBA House.
Escorted to the event by her information and communications technology teacher, Akanyere Chigozie, the winner said the experience has boosted her confidence.
“I am so grateful to UBA Foundation for this great opportunity. It has helped me to believe in myself and bolstered my confidence. This scholarship will help in achieving my dream of becoming an ophthalmologist. This opportunity has changed my life and I really appreciate UBA and the Foundation for this,” she said
For her win, Paul will be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.
UBA’s Education Initiative
Paul’s win was made possible through UBA Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of United Bank for Africa Plc, which is committed to the socio-economic betterment of the communities where it operates, focusing on development in areas of education, environment, economic empowerment and special projects.
For 12 years, the foundation’s education initiative has been changing lives. The competition has been taken to other African countries, including Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with more African countries coming on board this year.
This year, Princess Sholabomi of Value Spring College, Lagos, clinched the second prize and was rewarded with N3m educational grant and a laptop; while the third prize went to Sharon Nwajiaku of Ota Total Academy, Ogun State. She got N2.5m and a laptop.
The other nine finalists also received brand-new laptops as well as consolation prizes, including books and other learning materials.
Commitment to Youth Empowerment, Development
According to UBA Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, the bank is committed to youth empowerment and development, who are the future of the continent.
He said; “As a bank, we are interested in empowering youths and to do this, we must educate them through efforts such as these. The truth is that we are launching these programmes in all the 20 countries where UBA has presence.
Chairman of UBA Foundation, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said the bank has been touching lives and making a solid impact through its foundation and has produced hundreds of winners, some of who have long graduated from higher schools and have been impacting their communities.
He said: “I commend everyone for being a part of this event. We set up this competition over 12 years ago, because we saw the need to allow students to express themselves and convey their ideas, and over the years, we have seen that we are doing something very unique and truly African. We have given scholarships to over 60 students, and we have been able to produce doctors, engineers and lawyers through this platform.”
Education as Bedrock
Managing Director, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, who commended the winners for their exceptional brilliance, noted that education remains the foundation’s focus as it is the bedrock of any nation.
She said: “The student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable. For those that did not come first this year, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again next year” she said.
She explained that the UBA Foundation is committed to giving back to communities where it operates. Education in any capacity, she noted, remains one of the Foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation.
“We have been focused on improving the reading culture amongst students, to foster growth and learning. So today, we would like to congratulate all 12 finalists, because you are all winners, having been selected from over 5,000 entries.”
About UBA Foundation
At UBA Foundation, the aim is to make improvements in the lives of the underprivileged. Therefore, they are committed to the socio-economic betterment of communities across the African continent focusing on development in the areas of Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment and Special Project
Also, United Bank for Africa (UBA) PLC, Africa’s global bank, is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. Therefore, as West Africa’s largest and most profitable bank, they recognised the need for a social contract between the bank, the community and its people. To this end, United Bank for Africa became the first bank in Nigeria to institute a foundation – UBA Foundation.
According to the foundation, it draws its inspiration from the Group’s intrinsic values of humility, empathy, resilience, integrity and its mission statement; “to be a role model for African businesses, abiding by the utmost professional and ethical standards, and creating an enduring institution”. These values have, and will always be the factors that inspire us to ‘Do Well and Do Good.’