Ten thousands youth in schools and vulnerable communities will benefit from the Power Forward programme organised by ExxonMobil, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the international NGO Africare.
Power Forward community intervention include malaria prevention where the youth distributed 2,129 bed nets along with personal hygiene products to men, women and children in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.
The goal of this year’s edition of the youth development programme, which is into its fourth year, is to equip the participants with life skills information, while 6,000 bed nets will be distributed and 20 hand wash stations installed to promote hygiene and promote exemplary leadership skills.
The Power Forward programme will teach and mentor 300 students from 10 secondary schools annually in Abuja on health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students.
Franck Traore, Technical Director, NBA Africa, explained: “This programme has held three major kick off events with more than 6,000 students and VIPs in attendance. We have embarked on several interventions at IDP centres for malaria prevention and sanitation exercise.”
He further said that Power Forward, through its focus on health, builds on efforts by the ExxonMobil Malaria Initiative to combat malaria in Nigeria. The successful malaria 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.
Since 2000, ExxonMobil-supported programmes have distributed more than 14 million bed nets, nearly three million diagnostic tests and more than four million anti-malaria treatments, reaching more than 125 million people worldwide.
The Power Forward project also supports the Federal Government’s National Malaria Control Programs’ advocacy on youth development and public health, which ExxonMobil also supports through its health initiatives in the country.
The world has made remarkable progress against malaria in recent years: between 2000 and 2015, global malaria mortality rates decreased by 60 per cent and initiatives to combat the disease saved more than six million lives.
Students from 10 secondary schools will participate in the project this year. The students are drawn from 10 secondary schools in Abuja. The schools are: Model Secondary School, Maitama; Rahinna Model College, Jikwoyi; Raberto Schools, Wuse II; Divine Mercy Secondary School, Asokoro; Glisten International School, Jabi; Bicardos International School, Kubwa; Government Secondary School, Karu; Government Secondary School Zone 3, Government Secondary School, Garki ;and Government Secondary School, Airport.
Last year, Power Forward’s 60 community events in 2016 were based on the knowledge the students acquired and have impacted an estimated 6,000 people. During the World Malaria Day (WMD) last month, 2,000 bed nets were distributed.
The programme was first launched in Abuja on November 19, 2013 with a Tip-Off event featuring NBA and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) representatives, Nigerian policymakers and influential personalities.
Former NBA Player and Nigerian National Team Captain Olumide Oyedeji was the star attraction at the basketball clinics, which featured as part of the programme.
Traore thanked the NBA, Africare, the NBA Talents, National Malaria Elimination Programme of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, the Power Forward Schools and everyone for their support for that initiative and the opportunity it presented.
He also admonished the listening audience that “by working together, we have the opportunity to invest in the future and defeat malaria.”
The Power Forward programme is a co-initiative of ExxonMobil through its foundation which engages 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 collaboration with The NBA through NBA Cares, which addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes and 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.