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Basketball Program In Senegal To Teach Leadership, Teamwork

Published on 08 May 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Dakar, Senegal

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched Live, Learn and Play, a new partnership that will include a comprehensive basketball-based youth development program aimed at using the values of the game, including leadership, character and teamwork, to promote youth development and citizenship in 20 schools in Senegal.

Representatives from USAID, NBA Africa and the Sport, Education & Economic Development (SEED) Project gathered on a newly renovated basketball court at the John F. Kennedy High School in Dakar, Senegal, on May 7. More than 100 local children from participating schools were then put through their paces under the tutelage of Minnesota Timberwolves forward and SEED Project alumnus Gorgui Dieng together with Women’s National Basketball Association legend and fellow Senegalese native Astou Ndiaye.

“Partnering with USAID on this program provides an important vehicle for using the sport of basketball and the values of the game to develop future leaders who will be able to positively influence youth development in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA vice president for development in Africa. “We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to working with USAID to utilize our expertise and make an impact in Senegal.”

Live, Learn and Play will use basketball and the values of the game as a vehicle to teach life skills and promote leadership to boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 15 in 20 schools across Senegal, USAID said in a press release. Each of the schools participating in the program will conduct at least two basketball practices per week, with games and tournaments held on weekends. Practices will take place at each of the participating schools and will each feature up to 48 students, including both boys and girls.

“USAID has a long tradition of using sport in global development, and we are excited to team up with the NBA to launch a program that will transform the lives of boys and girls across Africa,” said Mori Taheripour, USAID senior adviser for sport for development. “It’s fitting that we are launching this program today in Senegal, where basketball is a true catalyst for advancing youth development. This is why Live, Learn and Play is focused on training and supporting coaches, because we know what a critical role they play in the lives of youth. We look forward to continuing our work with the NBA as we seek to expand the program to other countries in Africa.”

Live, Learn and Play includes a comprehensive coaching development element with a curriculum designed by the NBA and implemented by the SEED Project, USAID said. The coaches trained through the program will then implement the basketball curriculum locally. The program also includes a mentorship component that will provide the local coaches with a broad support network through Live, Learn and Play. USAID and the NBA plan to expand the pilot program to other countries across the continent.

The NBA has a long history in Africa, with more than 30 players from the continent having been featured on NBA rosters since Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984, USAID said. Through NBA Cares, 37 places to live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and Basketball without Borders Africa has been held 11 times. The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010, and followed with the launch of the Royal Bafokeng Sport Jr. NBA development program in 2011.

USAID currently provides assistance to 42 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The agency is focused on ending extreme poverty by removing constraints to economic growth, promoting food security, transforming public health, increasing opportunities for women and youth, responding to humanitarian emergencies while building resilience to future crises, and promoting low-emissions growth and sustainable development, USAID said. USAID is boosting agricultural activity through Feed the Future, strengthening health systems through the Global Health Initiative and promoting youth engagement through the Young African Leaders Initiative.



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Posted 2014-05-08 11:13:00