• “Kenya’s Boxgirls is a programme which engages girls and young women across poor and disenfranchised neighbourhoods in Nairobi,” organisers explained in the nomination.
• Currently, the organisation is impacting the lives of girls in Kariobangi, Huruma, Mathare, Korogocho, Kayole, Kariadudu, Babadogo and Western Region in Ekambuli.
Boxgirls' coach Stacy Ayoma says unwavering effort and resolve by its members has been key in helping the Eastlands Community-Based Organisation bag nomination for the 2023 Laureus Sport For Good Award.
Ayoma, a lightweight pugilist in the national boxing team Hit Squad, is a product of Boxgirls’ demanding development program.
Boxgirls are nominated alongside TeamUp (Netherlands), Slum Soccer (India) and the Made For More program, whose goal is to make sport accessible to South Africans with disabilities.
“Kenya’s Boxgirls is a programme which engages girls and young women across poor and disenfranchised neighbourhoods in Nairobi,” organisers explained in the nomination.
“Here girls marry young, they get pregnant in their teens, they have little control over economic assets, they drop out of school earlier than boys, and are subject to a disproportionate level of violence.”
Ayoma said their goal is to help this demographic learn both mental and physical self-defense techniques.
“They are instructed on self-defence techniques with a focus on understanding and asserting their rights. The majority of the girls are from the slums, where there are many problems, particularly for women. At Boxgirls Kenya, we teach our students life skills along with self-defence techniques,” said Ayoma.
She hopes that the recognition they have had internationally will help attract more girls and young women in their quest for a better future.
“Boxgirls Kenya is a community development initiative that seeks to empower girls from slum areas to lead dignified lives in secure communities, where they are valued as equal members and have control over their sexuality and economic development,” Ayoma explained.
“It was established over a decade ago on the back of the work of Anjalo Anjere — popularly known as Priest —who had been imparting boxing skills on young boys and girls from Kariobangi as well as surrounding areas.
“The rampant sexual violence against women during the 2007/08 post-election violence amplified the need to intensify the group’s efforts to fight for change in the society through boxing and other means.
Currently, the organisation is impacting the lives of girls in Kariobangi, Huruma, Mathare, Korogocho, Kayole, Kariadudu, Babadogo and Western Region in Ekambuli.
Besides imparting boxing skills to the hundreds of girls who pass through this initiative, Boxgirls’ other programme also includes leadership and mentorship; monitoring and evaluation; and Dada Cash, an economic empowerment initiative.
The ‘Laureus Sport for Good Award’ honours social initiatives that have significantly improved the lives of children and adolescents through sport.
“And as if the talent on our list of nominations isn’t enough, these Awards will be judged by the 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy — Olympic champions, world record holders, athletes who changed the game, and the ultimate jury on sporting greatness,” a statement from the organisers added.
Lionel Messi, who helped Argentina win the World Cup, and Rafael Nadal, who finished 2022 at the top of the list of men’s Grand Slam champions, are among the nominees for the top prizes.
Others include Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA title for the fourth time in eight years, Katie Ledecky and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who set records for world titles in the pool and on the track respectively.