International non-governmental organisation, Africare, in partnership with ExxonMobil and National Basketball Association (NBA),is using the sport component of basketball to work with children, teaching them about life skills, health and development literacy.
The group use sports (basketball) and other learning skills to train students across the nation’s capital on how various strategies could be used not only to sensitize against, but defeat diseases and lifestyle.
Marking the third year anniversary of the PowerForward event which held at the Indoor Sports Section of the National Stadium, about 200 students turned out from each of the 10 schools shortlisted while only 20 students represented each school in the basketball competition.
The three-year-old project by Africare is being funded by ExxonMobil, while NBA offers the sports component.
In her remarks, the country director, Africare Nigeria, Dr Orode Doherty, said her the organization which works on health component of the project, has contributed through health trainings across schools, distribution of mosquito nets and conducted malaria tests for people within and outside the Federal Capital Territory.
Doherty said the project was yielding desired results and that it would be expanded to all parts of the country.
“Africare is working in 15 states in Nigeria. So, as an organisation, scalability is not an issue for us. We are already working in multi-million dollar opportunities. So, scaling is not an issue. We are ready to go. We are working with the ministry. We’ve shown them what we are doing. this is an opportunity for them to come in and see what we do with this children so that we can expand it to other schools in the country, target children who are out-of-school, targeting children who are in IDP camps, children who do not have opportunity to be educated among others,” she stated.
One of the students, Johnson Loveth, an SSS 2 students of Government Senior Secondary school, Airport, said she had observed improvement in her health since the campaign was brought to her school “I wasn’t sleeping under mosquito net until the people came to my school. Neither did I take hand washing and simple things that can improve my health such as regular exercise and eating good diet that serious. But, with this campaign, there have been great changes, and I think I’m doing better in school now.”
f malaria project, Africare, Dr Patrick Adah, said the organization implements different malaria projects in the country and helps to coordinate those projects in various locations in the country.
“Malaria is endemic. What that means is that the disease is with us here. Over the years, the disease has been ravaging, killing so many children, and even adults in a very large proportion. The Federal Ministry of Health under the auspices of the National Malaria Programme, with all the malaria partners in the country are putting efforts together to ensure that we burden of malaria, and even to eliminate malaria in the country. But, because the disease is endemic, it takes a long time and serious efforts to ensure that malaria is completely eliminated. But, over the years, efforts are being made to control malaria, and we are making progress,” he said.
BY WINIFRED OGBEBO