Dr. Chinelo L. Njaka is a social scientist and researcher based in Peckham, London, UK. She is a Nigerian American who group up in Minnesota, USA and later moved to England for postgraduate studies. She holds a MA in Culture, Globalisation and the City from the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester in 2017.
Dr. Njaka has researched and worked in various areas of community development and support for marginalised communities in both the USA and UK for most of her adult life. Her research interests include race and ethnicity, cross-national comparison, organisational studies, community development, and the African Diaspora, particularly in the European context.
She continues her work practically with community organisations through projects on HIV prevention/sexual health promotion for African communities in London and housing rights for her local community, which has one of the largest populations of West Africans in London (and the UK). She has spent the last eleven years developing informational resources created especially for African communities, examining the disproportionately high sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates for African communities in London (including HIV), and supporting the ongoing work of providing support and advocacy for people living with HIV around the world. Her work around social housing issues in London help to build and mobilise residents and organisations to empower and advocate for themselves and the community. This includes organising sessions to teach residents to use computing and internet technologies, supporting youth through mentorship, after-school clubs, employment support, and engagement with politics, and organising campaigns and advocacy for vulnerable residents that are facing adverse changes in their housing and social benefits provisions.
Dr. Njaka’s work enabled her to be chosen for the 2017 United Nations Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent. She is now committed to implementing the International Decade for People of African Descent in the United Kingdom, United States, and Nigeria. To support this important work, she has founded a community organisation, Peckham Rights!, to establish resources to promote a human rights framework in community development and advocacy work in Peckham, London and beyond. The organisation works directly with people and organisations to bridge the gap between the local and the global by providing training on and assistance in how to engage with and utilise the United Nations to support the promotion of human rights in under-resourced local communities.
We are proud of her achievement and we name her Most Influential 100 Class of 2018 Humanitarian and Religious category.