World Boxing Champ Fatuma Zarika Joins Martial Arts Women’s Movement

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World Boxing Champ Fatuma Zarika Joins Martial Arts Women’s Movement

World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Featherweight champion Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika has backed the empowerment of women through martial arts.

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World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Featherweight champion Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika has backed the empowerment of women through martial arts.

Zarika said that she supported the initiative as it was going to empower girls and women with basic self defence skills so that they can be able to defend themselves against cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and the rising cases of femicide.

“Femicide is the most brutal and extreme manifestation of violence”, she added. “Prevention is our best option against GBV in general but against femicide in particular.”

The boxer was speaking as a special guest and successful women’s fight sports fighter during the launch of the Femme Combat Fest a project at a Nairobi hotel aimed at empowering women through martial arts.

The Femme Combat offers women empowerment through the martial arts sporting categories of Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Taekwondo, Judo, Kenpo Karate, and Tongil Moo Do.

The Femme Combat is organising initiatives that aim to prevent femicide and gender-based violence in Kenya, by providing basic defence skills to girls and women through martial arts .

At least 500 women and girls have been murdered in Kenya since 2016, despite the country’s efforts to prevent gender-based violence, according to the Africa Data Hub, a regional network of data organizations that traces such killings based on newspaper reports.

“The shocking reality that at least 10 women have been killed in the first month of 2024 alone intensifies an already troubling trend”, said Mary Njeri, a gender-based violence analyst at UN Women. “Each loss is a stark indicator of the systemic issues we are striving to dismantle.”

Statistics by The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW-Kenya) revealed that over 3,762 cases of Gender-Based Violence were reported in 2022. Out of those cases, 2,985 victims of GBV were women while 777 were men.

Kaizen Martial Arts Club Kenya as Femme Combat Fest, founders Dr. Catherine Kibuchi and Lona Abiero, mobilised women in martial arts to join the movement dedicated to nurturing the strength, resilience, and camaraderie of women through the art of combat.

Femme Combat Fest emerged as a beacon of empowerment, borne out of Dr. Catherine Kibuchi’s desire to cultivate a space where women could thrive.

“I decided to start Kaizen as a way to empower women,” she shared. “We bring all female martial artists together to train on basics aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr Kibuchi.

The Femme Combat Festival, will be held for three days between July 19th to 21st, 2024which  promises a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and empowerment.

The Femme Combat Fest will conduct  trainings in Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Taekwondo, Judo, Kenpo Karate, and Tongil Moo Do.

Through these workshops, participants embark on a transformative odyssey, honing their skills while championing financial literacy, reduced inequalities, and the end of menstrual shame.

Joan Githua, representing the Judo Federation, and a member of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) women’s committee reflected on the challenges and triumphs of female martial artists. ”

Master Anuro Makanga,  spoke passionately of breaking barriers and nurturing peace saying Martial arts is not about violence; it is about peace.

Femme Combat Fest beckons women from all corners of the globe to join the movement—a celebration of strength, unity, and empowerment.

Femme Combat Fest invites women to embrace their inner warriors and rewrite the narrative of possibility.

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