How to Involve Schools – Example from the Field: Kenya

How does Boxgirls Kenya approach schools in their engagements?

We normally do visits; through these visits we usually introduce the organization as a boxing sport organization, its vision as Boxgirls Kenya, mission, objectives and programs. After introduction, we usually request to the head master/mistress for a partnership if allowed to run programs for girls through boxing in their schools. The main challenges when first making the approaches are,

  1. Most of the school management hesitates to the idea of a girls boxing program in their schools. The perception is that boxing is a violent sport associated with men and not for girls.
  2. Some think that the sport might make the girls violent and unruly.
  3. Some schools in the rural settlement face the cultural stereotypes from parents who need some sensitization on girls’ involvement in sport and their rights to that effect.

Despite these main challenges, we usually look for an entry point by explaining to them the benefits of the package that comes by the programs we run and how the girls will benefit in terms of empowerment through the programs and the boxing sport.

How we communicate

In terms of the programs in schools, boxgirls Kenya has a curriculum that was created and has been initiated in the school outreach programs in the rural areas trough training of the girl leaders and school program patrons on how to use the curriculum in school to facilitate boxing and life skill for young girls and boys aged 9-11 years of age. The curriculum is aimed at promoting mutual respect and understanding between boys and girls hence promoting peaceful coexistence. By promoting mutual respect and understanding between the two genders at a tender age, the same was done in Nairobi where coaches and life skill facilitators underwent through training on how to use the curriculum in various school outreach programs we run. School teachers/program patrons also underwent trough training on monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum to be used. We have the kid’s parliament program already running in Nairobi. Girls do debates on different topics based on different issues raised in the Uwazi sessions by girls. In these programs we partner with the school patrons to facilitate the resources and platform needed for the sessions.

How we do events/parades

We usually do events to address issues in the community. These events/parades assist in mobilizing the community; bringing people together who later get the sensitization through different activities that are aligned to the sensitization. To do these parades/events we need different resources depending on the topic issue that is being addressed. E.g. environmental, during clean up exercise we use wheel barrows, spades, slathers, rakes e.t.c. We also need a public address system for communication and entertainment; we need a boxing ring to use during bouts aimed at mobilizing the community. At the event we normally have questionnaires, list of participants when we want to collect data. When doing these we normally invite the stake the community, the chief, community elders, teachers, parents and the youth are usually invited in these events. The event is usually prepared through the collective responsibility and roles played each program leader of boxgirls Kenya. Roles are usually assigned to each leader.

Challenges in rural areas

  1. The challenges in the rural areas are mostly the cultural setbacks. After introducing the program in school, many girls join it but later the number starts dropping because of the wrong perception from parents, relatives or friends.
  2. In addressing these challenges we organized a meeting with the parents, teachers, community elders, health institution, boxgirls members and the government representatives. This was aimed at creating community ownership of the programs we run in the schools, and strengthening the community bond towards empowering the girls through the boxing sport.

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