As part of efforts to eradicate the challenges posed by malaria in the African continent, ExxonMobil in collaboration with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the international NGO Africare have organised a training camp for students from 30 Schools selected from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The training programme tagged: ‘Power Forward,’ teaches health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students
The 2018 edition which is the fifth in the series training program tagged, had a Ghanian born NBA Star, Pops Mensag-Bonsu featuring as the facilitator and trainer.
Speaking to journalists, Mensag-Bonsu said the programme focuses on encouraging the youth on developing life skills as well as raising public health awareness among high school youths.
“The significance of the camping program is to use basketball as a tool to educate this young boys and girls to live a healthy lifestyle.
“In Africa we have serious malaria issues, we are bringing this school children to gather to educate them on healthy habits that can help eliminate the problem. We are using it as a tool to educate them on social healthy behavior. When I was called upon to do this I saw it as a social responsibility. I am from Ghana but am proud to do anything to give back to people of the African continent I always join at it. I was I was younger I looked up to somebody, so as a basketball player we have to give back to the next generation. So we have to use who we are as a tool to educate them.’’
In his welcome address, Dr. Orode Doherty, country director, Africare Nigeria, said Power Forward has in the last six months continued to affirm its social footprint by expanding project activities and public health awareness to 10 additional schools which brings the total number of schools in the FCT engaged for the year to 30.
Dr. Orode who was represented by Dr. Patrick Adah said some of the activities executed during the period include a community outreach at Jahi 1, village in commemoration of the World Malaria Day where 161 long lasting insecticide nets (LLIN) were distributed to pregnant women and children under 5 years of age.
“So far up to 6,000 students have been reached with relevant public health information and we intend to reach 14,000 more students before the end of the project this year,” he said.
Expressing gratitude for ExxonMobil support, he said, “I am especially grateful to ExxonMobil for their leadership and the NBA for their technical support in providing the supplies required for the game of basketball to reach its highest potential among the youth in Nigeria and Africa.”
In 2017 the program reached over 12,000 youth in school and vulnerable communities with life skills information, distribution of 3,700 bed nets, establishing 20 hand wash stations to promote hygiene and promote exemplary leadership skills.
Students from 10 secondary schools are participating in the basketball programming. The schools represented are: Model Secondary School, Maitama, Rahinna Model College, Jikwoyi, Raberto Schools, Wuse II, Divine Mercy Secondary School, Asokoro, Glisten Int. School, Jahi , Bicardos Int. School, Kubwa, Govt. Sec. Sch. Karu, Govt. Sec. Sch Zone 3, Govt. Sec. Sch Garki and Govt. Sec. Sch Airport