*Two-time NBA All-star Victor Oladipo, NBA Champion Festus Ezeli Headline First Virtual ‘Power Forward Huddle’
By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
As part of the Power Forward programme, ExxonMobil Foundation, the NBA and Africare have donated 30,000 masks, 90 new handwashing stations and hand sanitizers to 30 Power Forward schools in Abuja.
The handwashing stations will reach 35,000 school community users.
ExxonMobil Foundation, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Africare, a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to addressing African development and policy issues, also announced that two-time NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo and 2015 NBA Champion Festus Ezeli will headline the first virtual ‘Power Forward Huddle’ on Thursday, Nov. 19.
The event, which will be conducted virtually for the first time and livestreamed on the NBA Africa YouTube channel at 4:00 p.m. CAT, will celebrate seven years of the Power Forward program for youth ages 14 and under and coaches from 30 schools in Abuja, Nigeria. “Using the convening power of sports, our successful collaboration with the NBA and Africare allows young people to play the games they love while receiving the life-skills and public health messages they need to stay healthy,” said ExxonMobil Foundation President, Kevin Murphy. “Every year, young people graduate these programs with knowledge on how to protect themselves from infectious diseases like malaria and COVID-19.”
“We are thrilled to celebrate the seventh year of the Power Forward program in Abuja alongside our partners ExxonMobil and Africare,” said NBA Africa CEO, Victor Williams. “Power Forward has become an annual celebration for the participating schools in Abuja, and we are grateful to be joined this year by Victor Oladipo and Festus Ezeli, who will make this year’s virtual event even more memorable for participating youth and coaches.”
“Nigeria, like other sub-Saharan African countries, is experiencing a youth bulge,” said Africare President and CEO, Robert Mallett. “The Power Forward project has shown year after year that this model of youth leadership is successful and replicable. It is impactful. It has three elements that make for success: strong partners in ExxonMobil and the NBA, focused objectives and enthusiastic participants. That is a winning formula anywhere, anytime, and we are very thrilled to be part of the daily transformations we help to make possible.”
Power Forward, a youth development initiative launched in 2013 by the ExxonMobil Foundation, the NBA and Africare, uses basketball to teach health literacy, including malaria prevention and personal hygiene, and life skills, such as leadership, respect and responsibility, to students in 30 secondary schools in Abuja.
To date, Power Forward has reached more than 80,000 youth in schools and communities in need, and nearly 30,000 people have attended past Power Forward community events.
About ExxonMobil FoundationThe ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. In 2019, the ExxonMobil Foundation, together with Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, along with employees and retirees, provided more than $252 million in contributions worldwide.
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.
NBA rosters at the start of the 2019-20 season featured 108 international players from 38 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.9 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
Founded in 1970, Africare is the largest and most experienced international non-governmental organization (NGO) focused exclusively on Africa. Through partnering with local communities, NGOs, governments and private sector for more than 40 years, Africare has invested over $2 billion in support of tens of millions of people in 36 African countries.
Africare’s programs focus on five interrelated core competency areas: agriculture & food security, health (malaria, maternal health, child health, HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, community health), nutrition, humanitarian assistance, and women & youth empowerment.