ExxonMobil says it is partnering with National Basket Ball Association (NBA) and other partners on `Power Forward Project’ to ensure youth development in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Mr Nigel Cookey-Gam, Government and Business Relations Manager of ExxonMobil, at the Finals of the fifth round of the project in Abuja on Friday, said youth and human capacity development remained a critical part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Power Forward project focuses on teaching health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students.
He said that through the project, it would continue to pursue programmes that would bring about youth development and build human capacity across critical sectors of the Nigerian economy
According to him, the project is a youth development initiative of ExxonMobil, NBA, WNBA and Africare, a Non Governmental organisation (NGO).
“It teaches health, literacy and life skills, such as legacy, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programme to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students in Abuja.
“ExxonMobil continues to be at the forefront in the fight to reduce the global burden of malaria.
“ExxonMobil is committed to the development of sustainable, long term community assistance initiative in Nigeria, such as Power Forward.” he said
Cookey-Gam said the Power Forward project also supports the Federal Government National Malaria Control Programme advocacy, youth development and public health initiative.
He said, “The community investment programmes that we support focus on capacity building, training, education and health, especially among youths and women.
“Our philosophy is that a productive, healthy and educated society is a better place to do business and we hope that the skills that are imbibed by the youths through this initiative would bring about sustainable improvement in their lives.
“Since 2000, ExxonMobil supported programmes, have distributed more than 14 million bed nets, insecticide treated nets; nearly three million diagnostic tests and more than four million anti-malaria drugs, reaching more than 125 million people worldwide.” He added.
In his presentation, the NBA’s Director of Basketball Operations for Africa, Mr Franck Traore, said the NBA, along with its Nigerian partners was keen on using basketball as a vehicle to teach young people healthy lifestyle and create public health awareness.
He also noted that during the process of engagement, young Nigerians would be provided with the necessary support both morally and financially, if they chose to pursue basketball as a career.
Traore further explained that the impact of the programme could be quantified, stating that the partners, ExxonMobil, NBA and Africare, had put in effort and commitment to ensure that the aim of the programme was achieved.
“It is our duty to see how best we can assist these kids, who really want to pursue basketball as a career.
“The amount of time and work put in there — I personally cannot quantify the amount of financial commitment that we put in, but I know it is a great commitment.”
In her remarks, the Country Director, Africare, Mrs. Orode Doherty, said the partnership would not only promote youth development, but also boost human capacity.
Doherty noted that the partners intended to take the Power Forward model as a franchise across Africa and the rest of the world to develop the potentials of youths using basketball.
Also speaking, former NBA player, Jerome Williams, said the Power Forward is aimed at teaching students leadership, respect, as well as helping in promoting education among the youths.
He said Power Forward would strive to touch more people in our communities, not only in Abuja, but all over Nigeria, as well as across Africa.
“We need Power Forward; we need all you kids to be next leaders. We need all you parents to support your children, and definitely all the partners that are involved, because with them, they would be no programme and initiave,” Williams noted.
Also, another former NBA player, Olumide Oyedeji, called on the youths to imbibe passion, vision and determination, as well as dedication, determination and discipline in their daily undertakings. (NAN)
Closing The Gender Gap: An Interview with Dream Girl Global (DGG) Founder, Precious Oladokun
Dream Girl Global Founder, Precious Oladokun (Image source: Dream Girl Global)
The elimination of gender inequality and achievement of the United Nations SDG 5 on gender equality remains a pressing objective as the global community barrels towards 2030. In this interview, Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online spoke with the Founder of Dream Girl Global (DGG), Precious Oladokun about DGG’s work, gender inequality, and Covid-19. Excerpts.
Alaba: Could you briefly tell us about Dream Girl Global and the gap its filing?
Precious: Dream Girl Global is a non-profit organization that was set up to contribute towards the elimination of gender inequality, and empower young women as a contribution to the 5th Sustainable Development Goal. Specifically, we carry this out through mentorship projects in a bid to empower young girls, encourage them to dream bigger, and help give them excellent head starts at their careers. We are currently in operation in Nigeria and India.
Alaba: What sparked the interest and how are you funding this initiative?
Precious: I have always had a deep rooted passion for gender inequality partly as a result of my experiences as a female in Nigeria, and partly because of the experiences of many other women across the world. Many countries that are poor today have cultural norms that exacerbate favoritism towards males. Norms such as patriarchy and concern for women’s purity help explain the male skewed ratio in India and China, and low female employment in the Middle East, and North Africa. Also, issues like uneven access to education, lack of employment equality, job segregation, and lack of political representation are major reasons behind this initiative.
So far, we have not needed much funding to carry out our projects. However, when there is a need to, we are going to reach out to individuals and organizations with similar interests to help pursue this cause.
Alaba: How does your organization measure its impact?
Precious: Basically, we measure our impact by setting short terms goals, and once a goal is achieved, we mark it out. This gives a clear picture of our activities and generally helps to measure our impact.
Alaba: Kindly share some of your challenges and successes since you launched?
Precious: One major challenge is the refusal of some people to understand the concept of gender equality, resulting in criticism of the cause. Also, the management of data and information is another challenge (yet in a good way). I would rather prefer to refer it as a learning process.
So far, I have been thrilled by the successes that we have recorded. We have been able to reach out to a large number of people through our social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. This has provided an opportunity for us to educate the masses on the importance of gender equality.
Also, we successfully mentored twenty (20) girls in Nigeria and India during our Pilot Mentorship Project that ended a month ago. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 8% of girls finish secondary school. Imagine what could be achieved if we could start to close this gap and educate more girls.
Alaba: What do you think are the key challenges regarding gender-related issues, both in the workplace and in the home? How might they be overcome?
Precious: In my opinion, the major key challenge is that people do not understand, or more preferably, have chosen not to understand the plight of women. This is particularly prevalent in rural communities. In most societies, there is an inherent belief that men are simply better equipped to handle the best paying jobs. This inequality results in lower income for women, and is one reason why women hardly get recognized among the most financially prosperous persons in the world.
Another challenge is that many men enjoy the dividends of patriarchy, and would prefer to continue to enjoy those. These may be overcome with more sensitization, empowerment of women, and with taking a stand (among other things). By the latter, I mean that people should by their actions and words support gender equality, and call out misogynistic practices.
Alaba: As a social entrepreneur, how has the pandemic affected your work and the organization? How are you prepared post Covid-19?
Precious: Well, the pandemic has not really affected our work per se. Most of what we do involves communication via social media platforms. However, the outbreak of the virus has disrupted our plans to visit secondary schools, low income communities, and households. It is our intention to fully take up these after the pandemic, and we are working earnestly to see that it becomes a reality.
Alaba: What are your three-work-from home tips for founders who are managing a remote team now for the first time?
Precious: Tip no 1: Take full advantage of the internet. The internet is an avenue to explore various opportunities.
Tip no 2: For a founder who is managing a remote team for the first time, you will need to have dedicated, reliable, and self-driven members. You will need people who understand the cause, and are willing to go any length in ensuring that the goals of the organization are achieved.
Tips 3: My last tip is patience. This is a virtue ignored by so many people. Start building, and be dedicated while building. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith but it’s worth the wait.
Alaba: As a young female leader, what drives you?
Precious: I am driven by the possibilities of results, and I am confident that whatever I put my mind to do, I can achieve it. To me, there is no impossibility.
Alaba: What message would you give to younger men and women?
Precious: My message to younger men and women is simple. Build things, watch them grow, and never rush. The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. Another message I feel necessary is the need for younger men and women to develop and build good relationships with people. It will help one go far in life.
Alaba: How do you relax, and what is your favorite tourist destination in Africa?
Precious: I relax by watching movies, swimming, and going to nice restaurants. Regarding my favorite tourist destination in Africa, I would go with Ghana. I have been to a couple of places in Africa, but I find Ghana very interesting because of the people, the culture, and generally everything. But to be honest, there is no place like home. East or West, home is the
P R O F I L E
Precious Oladokun is the Founder of Dream Girl Global; a non profit organization that seeks to empower young girls as a contribution to the fifth sustainable development goal and is currently in operation in Nigeria and India. She also sits on the international board of Uriji, London, a social media company that helps to record dreams for as many years imaginable and help users earn while promoting their passion. She is the youngest and first Nigerian on this Board.
Precious is currently pursuing a career in Law, and is currently a Bar Candidate at the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School. Prior to this, she interned at notable law firms across the Country including Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Templars, Banwo & Ighodalo, and Aluko & Oyebode. She has also served as an external support personnel at global Law Firm, White & Case.
In her spare time, she loves to watch movies, swim, travel, learn French, and taste exquisite dishes.
Paxful builds fourth school of its 100 school initiative supporting communities in emerging markets
Global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, has announced that they will be building a fourth school in its #BuiltwithBitcoin‘s 100-school initiative which aims to bring quality education centers to emerging countries. Located in Nigeria, the school will come fully equipped with a state-of-the-art solar-powered and water well system.
The new school will be built in the Ankara Nandu community of Sanga Local in Nigeria and will serve an estimated 100-120 children between the ages of three to six years old. Home to roughly 4,000 people, the city currently has only one school facility which is being used for both primary and secondary school purposes.
“We chose this particular community because of the limited resources and school infrastructure,” says Ray Youssef, CEO and co-founder of Paxful. “They are in dire need of quality learning spaces and this school is an honest representation of the impact Bitcoin can have on societies as a whole, and more specifically, how it can enhance education.”
The new school will double as an adult learning space in the evenings assisting in providing hundreds of people with a supplemental education. In response to safety requirements associated with COVID-19, The company will also provide Personal Protective Equipment for all teachers and students including face-masks and hand sanitizers.
Earlier in September, the company revealed its business expansion into Nigeria, their leading market in Africa in terms of volume and number of users. To strengthen operations and cement a physical presence in the country, Paxful appointed Nena Nwachukwu as Regional Manager for Nigeria.
Movement to empower education in Africa
Supporting over 400 students at present, Paxful’s #BuiltwithBitcoin initiative began in 2017 with partner Zam Zam Water, a humanitarian organisation devoted to eradicating poverty by providing clean, sustainable water and access to quality education to villages across the globe. The first two schools were built in Rwanda and the third school was built in Mukalala Village in Machakos County in Kenya earlier this year.
Through the 100-school plan, the company expects to bring education to nearly 15,000 young people throughout Africa while providing jobs to nearly 300 teachers. All schools, including the newest location in Nigeria, come with water filtration systems, not just to supply the locals, but also to give them an opportunity to sell the water to their local community at a very affordable price.
All the schools are also equipped with solar panels to cut spends on electricity and bypass regular electricity cuts. Paxful covers all fees associated with running a school including teacher and support staff salaries, bills for electricity and water as well as school supplies and uniforms for the students.
Supporting ongoing development and tracking success
All the completed schools under the #BuiltwithBitcoin initiative are progressing and performing very well as the company remains committed in providing the necessary tools and opportunity for the students to succeed. Continuous upgrades are made, and maintenance of the schools are monitored.
The passing rates within these schools have been higher as the confidence of the students are boosted with each child receiving their own textbooks in addition to basic school stationery supplies. Usually students share handbooks and textbooks and leave them at the school for use by other students.
As the communities always have more students than what the schools’ capacity can cater for, the initiative adopted a two-tier class approach, by having all the schools provide classes in four-hour blocks in the mornings and in the afternoons. This helps to support the highest number of students possible and not allow the quality of education to be affected. Desk space has also been limited to two to three students per bench to facilitate a healthy teaching environment.
Understanding the important role, they play in the success of the schools and learning journeys of the students, teachers and educators at these schools are also paid 15% above the national average of their salary, respective to their country.
“Each one of our schools follows the curriculum of their respective ministry of education. All textbooks, guidelines, and calendars fulfill all necessary requirements for testing and progress. Local officials have been supportive of the initiative’s efforts as we simply want the students to be able to succeed and graduate onto higher education by ensuring their educational foundation is strong and capable,” adds Youssef.
Aside from building schools, #Builtwithbitcoin has also supported a number of other philanthropic causes in various countries including Kenya and South Africa.
Donations are accepted on a rolling bases on https://BuiltWithBitcoin.org and will be used to aid in the completion of the new school in Nigeria among additional #BuiltwithBitcoin initiatives including Paxful’s Africa Fund for COVID-19. Paxful will kick off donations for building the school in Nigeria with an initial injection of $35,000 of funds in BTC.
Siemens: Setting the Pace for Good Corporate Citizenship in Nigeria
Siemens Nigeria CEO, Onyeche Tifase
Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services. It is however predominantly reliant on oil as its main source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. The Oil and Gas sector accounts for about 80% of total government revenues and 90% of export earnings. As Africa’s biggest exporter of oil, although Nigeria is well-positioned as a key regional economic player, socio-economic development has been constrained by inadequate power supply, insecurity, illegal cross-border trading, declining infrastructure, restrictive trade policies, prohibitive regulatory environment as well as pervasive corruption in the judiciary, legislature and other government agencies.
Over the years, the burden of responsibility for meeting these challenges eventuated by socio-economic development have fallen on businesses in Nigeria. The Organized Private Sector in Nigeria works collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify and prioritize initiatives which deliver sustainable value especially in the areas of environmental stewardship, healthcare, education, economic empowerment, capacity building and infrastructure development.
There are varying methodologies of engagement including charitable activities and contributions. However, some companies have expanded beyond this narrow perspective by the integration of socially responsible practices into their core operations. Therein lies the relevance and value of the Siemens Business to Society (B2S) initiative.
Siemens support for sustainable development in Nigeria is driven by their widely acclaimed model Business to Society initiative which is focused on achieving societal, economic and environmental advancements in the following areas: economic development, environmental sustainability, developing local jobs and skills, providing value-adding innovation, improving quality of life, and positive societal transformation.
Defining the Siemens “Business to Society” model, CEO, Siemens Nigeria, Onyeche Tifase said, “Our ‘Business to Society’ initiative represents the multidimensional ways we approach creating real value in the lives of Nigerians and Nigerian communities.”
“At Siemens, we appreciate how critical it is for businesses to impact on their stakeholders and society in a positive and sustainable manner. We are proud of our heritage and business in Nigeria, but beyond profits, we measure our success in the broader context of the significant value we have added over the last 50 years” she affirmed.
Since 1970, Siemens’ technology, products and services have contributed to driving the Nigerian economy. According to the latest Business to society (B2S) report prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), in 2019 alone, Siemens contributed a total of $562.5mn in Gross Value add (directly and indirectly) to Nigeria’s GDP through constructive engagement with industries especially in the Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and utilities sectors.
The B2S report also reveals that Siemens technology has contributed 9% to Nigeria’s operational power generation installed capacity. Furthermore, the widely acclaimed partnership agreement between Siemens and the Federal Government for the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) is set to upgrade the electricity grid network and increase operational capacity from 4,500 MW on an average currently, to 25,000 megawatts (MW). According to Tifase “This is a demonstration of our commitment at Siemens to make significant investments in providing value-adding initiatives to address challenges in Nigeria’s power sector”.
Siemens Nigeria remains a strong partner to the Nigerian government in developing local jobs and skills. The company has positively impacted employment with an estimated number of 48,000 jobs linked to Siemens’ business operations in Nigeria.
Furthermore, as part of their commitment to shaping societal transformation, Siemens is taking a leading role in supporting the government’s commitment to fight corruption and improve transparency in the public and private sector. The B2S report stated that Siemens Integrity Initiative (SII) has invested about $1.29mn in Nigeria to promote anti-corruption practices through capacity building and training. Says Tifase “Our social investment programmes have been designed to achieve the highest levels of stakeholder resonance and maximal benefits to the society”.
In addition to these initiatives, Siemens is ideally positioned to meet their goals of improving the quality of life for Nigerians and ensuring environmental sustainability through their partnerships and active participation in initiatives that will provide access to quality healthcare for up to 100,000 Nigerians and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.
As an international company present in Nigeria over the last 50 years, Siemens has played a vital role in addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges to ensure an ever-improving society for Nigerians today and future generations. “Siemens is fully aware of the imperative for businesses to impact positively on society and we remain passionately committed to the socio-economic development of Nigeria” Tifase concluded.