ExxonMobil Foundation has completed the training of over 300 students in Nigeria, under the Power Forward youth empowerment initiative.
The programme, which was initiated in 2013 in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Africare, uses basketball to develop health, leadership and life skills among youths in Nigeria through a combination of classroom and athletic activities.
Through its 3 year duration, Power Forward has brought students together through basketball, constructing playing courts in schools, as well as hiring coaches to host life skills and healthcare training sessions for youths. The program's closing ceremony in the National Stadium, Abuja was attended by over 4000 people, and featured a basketball tournament, as well as career talks from ExxonMobil affiliates' employees.
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Onsite malaria testing and treatment facilities were also available to attendees, with over 300 potential malaria cases tested, and 66 treated at the event venue.
"What we are doing in partnership with the NBA and Africare is to use basketball to enhance education as well as healthy living," said Paul Arinze, general manager, Public and Government Affairs for ExxonMobil affiliates in Nigeria. "Power Forward, through its focus on health, builds on efforts by the ExxonMobil Malaria Initiative to combat malaria in Nigeria. The successful initiative works with a range of partners to prevent, treat and ultimately eliminate malaria, especially in pregnant women and children under 5 who constitute the most vulnerable.”
Power Forward builds on ExxonMobil's efforts to fight malaria, which have reached 150 million people worldwide, and draws attention to the need for youth empowerment in the society. Since its inception, Power Forward's various milestone events in Nigeria and Washington, D.C have united NBA and WNBA players, coaches, and trainers to call attention to the importance of youth empowerment and galvanizing new commitments for action.