Safe Spaces Nigera


A user-centered strategy project to identify innovative opportunities to empower girls and break the cycle of poverty in Northern Nigeria.


LOCATION: Northern Nigeria
Client: Nike Foundation
Partners: Marika Shiori-Clark
Role: Designer, Strategist


Within many international development circles, there is the belief that a key tool to combat poverty is to invest in a young girl. By delaying early marriage and childbirth, ensuring health and safety, enabling completion of secondary schooling, and fostering social empowerment, it may be possible to equip girls with better socioeconomic assets and their internal capacity to leverage them. The ultimate goal is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

“Safe Spaces” is an emerging concept that the Nike Foundation has been exploring as a tool to advance this work. This particular project was a research and design strategy project undertaken in Northern Nigeria with the goal of developing potential program directions. Featuring intensive human-centered design interviews and workshops with girls, their parents, Islamiya teachers, and relevant community members, the design team was able to generate key insights about the structure of a girl’s daily life and the untapped opportunities for engagement and program delivery. Many programs around girl empowerment often rely on contradicting traditional hierarchies, but from creating marriage prep classes with a financial literacy component embedded within it to an Islamiya service academy that enables expanded social contact, the design team generated concepts that quietly but deliberately disrupted from within.

Back to top Arrow