NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo and 2015 NBA Champion Festus Ezeli will headline the first virtual ‘Power Forward Huddle’- a youth development initiative that uses basketball to teach health literacy and life skills to students in Abuja.
The event, which will be conducted virtually for the first time and livestreamed on the NBA Africa YouTube channel on November 19, will celebrate seven years of the Power Forward program for youth ages 14 and under and coaches from 30 schools in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Oladipo is a two-time NBA All-Star who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers while Ezili won the NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. He helped the Warriors win a record of 73 games in the regular season, surpassing the previous record set by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1995-96 season.
As part of the Power Forward program, ExxonMobil Foundation, the NBA and Africare, a leading NGO committed to addressing African development and policy issues, donated 30,000 masks, 90 new handwashing stations and hand sanitizer to 30 Power Forward schools in Abuja. The handwashing stations will reach 35,000 school community users.
“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.”