What you need to know:
- Since its launch 18 years ago in Nigeria, the not-for-profit organisation has expanded its footprint and programming across the continent and beyond the game. The organisation has prioritised skills training and personal development from basketball, health and wellness, to leadership and social impact.
Kenya is among the first countries set to benefit from Giants of Africa’s (GOA) multi-year, 100-court investment in the infrastructure of basketball throughout Africa.
Speaking hours after arriving in Nairobi on Wednesday, GOA founder Masai Ujiri said that the physical investment in the continent continues its commitment to creating opportunity for youth in Africa through sports, and harnessing the power of the next generation to propel the continent forward.
“Under the organisation’s “Built Within” initiative, over 10 new court builds and refurbishments will be unveiled across locations in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso over the next three months. The remaining will be unveiled in years to come, and will be strategically located in underserved communities,” the UK-born American, whose mother is from Kenya and father from Nigeria, said in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Empowered by the impact the game has had on his own journey, Ujiri co-founded GOA with aspirations to leverage basketball as a vessel for young boys and girls to dream big, and visualise opportunities for their future in Africa and around the world.
Since its launch 18 years ago in Nigeria, the not-for-profit organisation has expanded its footprint and programming across the continent and beyond the game. The organisation has prioritised skills training and personal development from basketball, health and wellness, to leadership and social impact.
“Since we began investing in the future of sports in Africa over the last two decades, it became clear that camps and programming were not enough to create long-term opportunities for growth in sports,” said GOA president Ujiri. “These public spaces have the power to unite communities, build togetherness and improve quality of life for all people.”
Reiterating the organisation’s promise to the youth of Africa, the vice chairman and president of the Toronto Raptors continued, “Sports are one of the best ways that we can help our young people achieve their goals and I look forward to hearing the stories of the thousands of young people who will be able to utilise these courts to help make their communities stronger over the next 10 years and beyond.”
The court unveilings will each include remarks from community leaders and youth who will be using the courts, a welcome from local dignitaries, a motivational speaker and free basketball gear for staff and youth attendees provided by Nike.
A basketball clinic conducted by NBA coaches and personnel including Jama Mahlalela, Patrick Engelbrecht, Patrick Mutombo, Sarah Chan, Godwin Owinje and Joe Touomou will close out each event.
The new courts will be built in partnership with Sport Court International, LLC, a pioneer in the concept of backyard modular sports surfaces.
“Athletics cannot only play a role in shaping the lives of future generations, they can also build entire communities,” said Lauren Gillian, Director of Partnerships and Community Relations at Sport Court.
“We are so pleased to be partnering with Giants of Africa as they work to increase long-term access to the power of sport to youth throughout Africa.”
MasterCard foundation will be supporting this year’s efforts along with gold mining company IAMGOLD, who will be contributing to this initiative over the coming years.