PwC Nigeria, a leading Professional services firm, in its continual effort to aid critical reasoning and intellectual development of secondary school students in Lagos has announced the inclusion of eighteen schools in the annual PwC Chess4Change programme. This was made known at the launch of the third season of the programme which aims to empower Secondary School students in Lagos with skills to improve their academics, thinking skills and social education through the game of Chess.
Speaking at the launch of the third season of the programme, Pedro Omontuemhen, Chief Operating Partner, PwC Nigeria said that the programme is a major component of PwC’s Corporate Responsibility Strategy which sees to the creation of Chess clubs in participating schools with weekly tutorials and intra-school practice competition organised by professional chess players and coaches.
According to him: “PwC Nigeria’s continued sponsorship of the initiatives which is now in its third year, is a show of our commitment to the Chess4Change programme. As a firm, we are very much interested in education and the empowerment of young people and this is reflected in our other Corporate Responsibility initiatives such as our partnership with the Lagos State Government on the Ready Set Work initiative. This year, we are expanding the programme to get as many schools as possible involved. We will be having students from 18 schools in this season, six more than the last edition and 12 more than the pilot season. This also includes the provision of additional facilities and the engagement of more coaches to train the students.”
Omontuemhen further disclosed that the Chess4Change initiative spans the academic session and ends with a 3-day Grand Slam tournament during which participating schools compete for honours with prizes awarded to outstanding performers and their schools. The programme also involves PwC staff volunteers who mentor the students of participating schools on various topics with the aim of improving their social skills and motivating them to become better members of the society.
Bayo Babalola, Technical director of the Lagos State Chess Association who was present at the event noted that PwC is the only organisation sponsoring Chess in public schools in Nigeria and the first to sponsor a student on a foreign trip to represent Nigeria in a Chess Championship.
In his words: “The Chess4Change programme is a very laudable initiative and a model for how corporate organisations can support sports development in Nigeria. Just after two years of the programme, there has been significant improvement in academic performance among participating students, and the impartation of soft skills through the mentorship scheme. Added to this, Jessica Pelemoh, an SS2 student of Aunty Ayo Girl’s Comprehensive High School, Ikoyi, Lagos who first came in contact with chess in 2015 during the second season of PwC Nigeria’s Chess4Change programme qualified for the African Youth Chess Championship by playing in a competition organised by the Nigeria Chess Federation in July 2016. She emerged as the top ranked U16 female player thereby representing Nigeria in the U16 Female Category at the Chess championship in South Africa in August, 2016.”
Also present at the event were Dr Mrs Oluyomi Oluwasanmi, Head of Regional and International Sports, Lagos State Sports Commission and Mr. Ugochukwu Osuji, Head of Activation, Media Vision – the project consultants on the programme. They both commended PwC Nigeria for investing in such a remarkable initiative even with the present economic challenges in the country and urged the participating students to make the best of the opportunity and improve their mental reasoning through the game of Chess.