Mathare North Boxing Club

Location: Mathare North, Nairobi
Combat sport: Boxing
Focus areas: Boxing, personal development and life skills, peace building.
Established: 1985
Joined the FFP Alumni: June 2013
Contact: Collins Wanunda

Mathare is Nairobi’s second largest slum, home to around 500,000 people. It has one of the highest population densities in the world. The slum has seen some of the worst of Nairobi’s gang violence, perpetrated by the rival Taliban (not connected to the Afghan militia group) and Mungiki gangs.

Mathare North Boxing Club was formed in 1985 with a vision for an all-inclusive boxing club that would raise the opportunities and life expectations of Kenyan young people. Now also known as Manobox, the club offers professional training on from 4.30pm to 6.30pm from Monday to Friday. Alongside boxing, the club offers an array of different activities for young people including life skills classes, community service and civic participation programmes, counselling and peer mentoring sessions. Club leader, Collins Wanunda, is looking to expand these activities to include entrepreneurial training.

Presently, the club has over 100 members and is self supporting, receiving minimal support financially and in kind from well-wishers and former boxers. The club has a strong boxing pedigree, having produced numerous top-level fighters, and has a particular reputation for producing disciplined and intelligent young people, many of whom have gone on to get employment with the armed forces and police,

Collins is currently expanding young people’s participation in the running of the organisation and is establishing a Youth Council to drive this forward. Collins also takes his role in the community seriously and recognises the importance of engaging with local stakeholders. The club has recently begun delivering free Physical Education classes in local schools to increase outreach and memberships.