Girl Effect: Ni Nyampinga

The economic theory around empowering girls
to break the cycle of poverty in the developing
world is one of the most important doctrines
to have emerged in the last twenty years.

Building on this, the Nike Foundation
in conjunction with the UK Department for
International Development, set out with a mission
to develop a unique way of igniting change.

We were tasked with leading this campaign and building
a brand to create a positive cultural shift within
Rwandan culture. Our challenge was to answer the following:
What story could we tell, and in what way, to spread messages
of empowerment to affect positive, lasting behavioural change?

In all of our work, we take a bottom-up approach to building
tailor-made solutions. For this project, our mission was to listen,
observe and curate the most relevant storytelling methods
to inspire, educate and empower girls to rise from poverty.

After conducting various workshops, and working side-by-side
with local artists, it was clear that to achieve the goals
of this campaign, Ni Nyampinga would demand a radical shift
in design practice from anything that had gone before.

'Challenge set perceptions
that showcased female role models'

We created a brand identity that borrowed from traditional
craft and injected it with a bold and modern palette
and typeface. We developed guidelines to challenge set
perceptions that showcased female role models, and ensured
the publication offered new skills and advice about education,
sexual health and violence otherwise inaccessible.

While we led the first issue hands on, we mentored a local design
agency to take over the running of the magazine day-to-day.

We challenged them to think conceptually
around the issues presented and bring these
to life by creating a bright, open and inviting
movement all would want to be a part of.

After a year of operation, the campaign received support
from the Rwandan Education Board, and following, we knew
it was time to embrace new tools to further amplify this message.
We engaged with local radio and created a billboard campaign.

This was the biggest test for the branding we had created – was it
iconic and memorable enough for people to instantly recognise?

'Ni Nyampinga is a more widely known brand

than Coca-Cola, with 41% of the local population

engaging with it regularly.'

Not only did we create the first ever colour magazine
in Rwandan history, with circulation sitting at 100,000 copies
printed per issue, but five years on, Ni Nyampinga is a more
widely known brand than Coca-Cola, with 41% of the local
population engaging with it regularly.

As with any successful brand, when momentum becomes
so great, soon comes the time to go ‘in house.’
In 2015, we assisted with the creation of a Ni Nyampinga
house to do this. We worked with a local printing house
and helped organise a government loan to purchase
a press capable of the magazine, and are happy to say
the magazine is now a self-sustaining entity.

As a small industry brag, this project also picked
up a Nike Maxim Award 2012 and was the first
ever non-Nike project to do so.

From the start, the ambition with this campaign was to spur
a hotbed of creativity and training for Rwanda’s girls
and to do ourselves “out of a job.” That we have now done this,
and curated Rwanda’s first girl teen brand for girls,
by girls, is a job well done.

Back to work