Boxgirls: Courage Wins!

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Boxgirls: Courage Wins!

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Boxing helps girls vent aggression and get strong. In an international network they learn computer skills and open their horizons

About You
Contact Information


First name


Last name


Your job title

Executive Director

Name of your organization

Boxgirls International

Organization type


Annual budget/currency

This field has not been completed

Project Street Address

SOS Buru Buru Outer Ring

Project City


Project Province/State
Project Postal/Zip Code
Project Country
Your idea
Choose your sport: (check all that apply)

Martial Arts

If you chose "other" for Sport, please define in 1-2 words below
What approach does your initiative incorporate?

Capacity Building

Year the initiative began (yyyy)


If your project has a website, paste the web address here:
Plot your innovation within the discovery framework:

Girls internalize cultural stereotypes


Visibility multiplies participation

This field has not been completed. (333 words or less)

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Boxing helps girls vent aggression and get strong. In an international network they learn computer skills and open their horizons

How many people does your innovation serve or plan to serve? Exactly who will benefit?

In Berlin we have 100 members, 30 of whom are under 26 years old. In Nairobi we have about 40 regular boxers about 20 who are under 26 years old. The school programmes launching in 2009 in Nairobi and Berlin should take us to about 200 girls in regular training at each site. We hope to add one new hub next year and hold workshops in Hanoi, Vietnam, Cape Town, South Africa and Vancouver, Canada. The CNN international report has bought many people in contact with us.

Do you have any existing partnerships? If so, please list and describe.

Boxgirls International is built on partnerships. We were one of the first projects funded by Women Win and have benefitted as part of the Sport for Social Change Network and our work together with Seitenwechsel. We work closely with Green Hill who provide our sport and safety equipment. The students and staff of the Freie Universitatet Berlin support our school programmes in Berlin and the development of curricula for the network. In Nairobi Boxgirls works with other members of the SSCN network like Moving the Goalposts Kilifi and GOAL. Boxgirls Nairobi also works with SOS Childrens Village in Nairobi Buru Buru.

In which sector do these partners work? (Check all that apply)

Citizen sector (non profits, NGOs) .

How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

Women's sports programmes talk about improving self-confidence but do not always include self-defence in their programmes. By bringing the best of traditional boxing training to the fun and community of running we will allow many more women to get active and be safe in their cities. Young sports leaders also need to know that they can protect themselves. Nothing is as unsettling than being afraid. To create young athlete leaders, we need to give them the assuredness of physical security. We are launching our own web cafe and training centre in Nairobi to educate the girls for future jobs and to earn income.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact

Girls and Women improve health and self assuredness through running and boxing while learning computer skills to connect around the world.

What does impact/success look like? Please list any tangible measures of the impact of your innovation

Through our biweekly training, school events, tournaments and media outreach we have created an entirely new environment for girls to box in Berlin and in Germany. We can see this through the positive press and parent responses and the improving relationships with schools. Evaluation work carried out by students at the Humboldt University in Berlin and the German Sports University reported that the girls feel much safer and stronger after participating in our programmes and take a more proactive approach to their school life. The German Children and Youth Foundation conducted an evaluation of our programme in 2005 through questionnaires and came up with the following results. 76% of the girls report having increased self confidence * 73% claim to have become more courageous through the project
* 72% are more athletic thanks to the project * 70% feel fitter * 69% say they are more willing to help out * 68% say they have become more tolerant.

Is there a chance that your project could change policy (within an institution or government)?

We have been asked by the German Olympic Sport Association and other national bodies to present our programme and to discuss our successes. We are also active at the urban development level offering programmes for girls in disadvantaged areas. Our work has been cited many times as best practice by local government bodies. Our lobbying for more girls and women as coaches and officials is starting to make a difference in the national boxing bodies.

Aside from financial sustainability, how do you plan to grow the initiative or expand your intended impact?

Once we have a core group of regional hubs: Berlin, Nairobi, Cape Town, Seattle, and Toronto (then Tokyo, Rio and London) and sufficient structures in place we should be able to accept new clubs. A larger membership base will itself create new opportunities for innovation as we can tap our members for ideas for events, school curricula, training plans and power song lists! We would provide the initial impulse for the regional hubs and support their organisational capacity building .

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

Boxgirls Berlin is financed through its members and many volunteer hours and a partial sponsorship deal with Green Hill. Boxgirls Nairobi is funded by a grant from Women Win and volunteer hours. Boxgirls International is funded by the extra money from membership services at Boxgirls Berlin, global giving and boxing workshops for businesses in Germany. Boxgirls Nairobi will finance itself through running a web cafe and computer training centre as well as offering boxing workshops for Nairobi businesses and NGOs.

Financing source
Annual budget

Boxgirls Berlin ca. 12 000 euro
Boxgirls Nairobi ca 10 000 euro
Boxgirls International ca 10 000 euro

Annual revenue generated

Boxgirls Berlin ca 18 000 euro (membership)
Boxgirls Nairobi 2000 euro (fees for workshops, memberships)

Number of staff (full-time, part-time, volunteers)

All are volunteers. 2 project volunteers in Nairobi and 6 trainee coaches. 1 Exec Dir in Berlin, one licensed coach, 2 trainee coaches

What are the main barriers to financing your initiative, and how do you plan to address these barriers?

Our barriers are 1) our members come from disadvantaged communities - about 25% of our members in Berlin pay a concessionary rate and in Nairobi they have very little to pay as membership 2) funders often care more about number of people in the programme rather than the intensity of the change. Boxing as an individual sport will never have the project participation of a sport like football - but we do have great success in helping girls one by one lead stronger lives

What are the major challenges with regards to partnerships?

*We will need to have enough members in high income countries to subsidise the members in low income countries to launch the programme to gather the evidence to make the case to other funders.
*Sports projects which focus on individuals and not teams do not create the mass numbers that some corporate sponsors expect. * small grants can bring high admin costs * lots of time is required to care for the partnerships which cannot be recovered

The Story
What stage is your project?

Ongoing project .

What was the motivation or defining moment that led to create this innovation? Tell us the story.

In Toronto, I discovered amateur boxing as a beautiful sport of rhythm, speed and tactics, far away from the bloody brutality of the professional game. I also got into the best shape of my life through boxing training and learned about myself through constant confrontation and collaboration with others in the ring. In Berlin I boxed and then decided to start a boxing club for women where women would coach and lead. Boxgirls Berlin became a success with the work of many other creative and hard working women and girls. In 2007 in Nairobi we launched a new Boxgirls site in partnership with women boxers from Eastlands and realised we could reach even more women by providing an opportunity for computer and web training through a web cafe/training facility. The girls then have a chance at employment or starting their own businesses and Boxgirls Nairobi has trained staff and an income generating activity.

Please tell us about the social innovator behind this initiative

I was born in London, UK and grew in Vancouver before studying Philosophy and Political Theory in Toronto & Berlin. My mom is a dedicated volunteer for amateur hockey and I was a volunteer baseball coach and umpire in my teens. So I had always known how sport could create social change by forming young leaders since I had benefited. When I moved to Berlin I became active in my community by starting a sports club that is also a sort of laboratory for creating participatory democracy.

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