Nairobi is a dangerous place to be a girl. During the post-election violence in 2008, many girls and women from Boxgirls Kenya’s community were raped and left traumatised. An increase in sexual violence, combined with no platform for girls’ voices to be heard, has left young women from this community vulnerable. Most girls drop out of school due to poverty and girls lack access to quality healthcare.
Boxgirls (BGK) was set up in 2007 by a boxing coach, Analo Anjere. BGK provides boxing and education, leadership and mentorship, and entrepreneurship activities to over 1,000 girls in the slums of Nairobi. The organisation campaigns for girls to remain in school until they complete their education and engages the community members with its work, harnessing their involvement in demanding the rights of girls.
BGK trains female boxing coaches and life skills facilitators who are then equipped to run weekly sports training sessions for girls across the community. In all of its work, BGK encourages girls to take care of their bodies, to understand issues related to sexuality and know where to report cases of sexual abuse. The importance of money dynamics is taught and girls are encouraged to develop leadership skills. Other programmes include monthly debate forums and computer skills training. The organisation has also had success in developing champions in the field of sports who are currently role models to the girls. One beneficiary, Elizabeth Andiego, was the first female boxer to represent Kenya at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Photo: Rachael Ouko/Stars Foundation.