Design Meets Charity: International Artists Join Nike to Fight Poverty

The Nike Foundation commissioned a set of pieces for the World Bank's annual meeting to raise awareness about its charity, Girl Effect

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In the 1990s, Nike's "If you let me play" advertising campaign became an instant classic. The in-your-face videos were praised for featuring women and girls from the developing world reciting facts and figures about the power of play. "If you let me play sports, I will have more self confidence," one tells us. "I will be 60 percent less likely to get breast cancer," says another. A third: "I will be more likely to leave a man that beats me." Last year, the Nike Foundation, with support from the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, the Novo Foundation, and the United Nations Foundation, launched Girl Effect, a charitable effort that builds on some of the work that Nike started 16 years ago.

"When everyone -- girls, parents, teachers, executives, artists, hairdressers, forest rangers, rock stars, presidents, investors, advertisers, skateboarders, truckers, cowboys, organizations, chefs, teenagers -- knows about the Girl Effect" -- that adolescent girls in the developing world are capable of raising the standard of living more than others -- "then real change can happen," according to Girl Effect's official website. "This site is just the beginning. The end is nothing less than ending poverty." The Nike Foundation hopes to raise 50 million girls out of poverty by the year 2030.

One small step of many towards that ultimate goal is an art exhibit at the World Bank during its annual meeting. For two days -- today and tomorrow -- a number of international artists will display their design work to raise awareness. The pieces were commissioned by the Nike Foundation "to represent what the Girl Effect means to each artist and to symbolize different ways to solve the injustices facing girls around the world," according to a press release. We've collected some of the pieces, along with the artists' biographical information and statements, below.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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