Chizoba Imoka began her journey into advocacy and research as an undergraduate student at University of Alberta, but prior to that she had always been known as a bold, inquisitive and fearless young girl. She questioned everyone from older family and friends to teachers and anyone that came her way. Hence she was given the nickname - "Chichi Beekee, Iron Lady!"
Action in the Cafeteria
At the age of 14, Chizoba became the food prefect of her school and led a student strike action against the school authority and catering company because of the poor quality of food students were served. This led to the dismissal of the caterers, and through the new caterers, student concerns were addressed and food quality improved. This experience sparked a life long journey of youth leadership and community engagement.
After completing her secondary school education, Chizoba enrolled at Grande Prairie Regional College where she organized the first robust African show the city had ever seen. This landed her on the front cover of the daily newspaper and the financial proceeds from this event ($500) were contributed to the HIV society in the city. At University of Alberta, Chizoba was voted as the
Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Alberta, Canada and led the association through one of the most memorable participation in the Edmonton Heritage Festival.
Youth Leadership Advocate
At the age of 19, Chizoba founded Unveiling Africa (UVA), a non-profit organization focused on helping African teenagers gain leadership skills through personal development and the completion of community projects. Since its inception UVA has mobilized over 200 African youths in Canada and engaged over 7000 youths across 20 Nigerian schools. The organization has also given over $20,000 in scholarships and raised about $15,000 for various youth causes in Nigeria. To find out more about UVA and how you can support, click here.
Education Policy Advocate
In addition to youth leadership and engagement advocacy, Chizoba is known to be a passionate advocate for good governance, culturally relevant teaching and learning and African-centered education in Africa. In August 2015, she began an advocacy campaign in Nigeria for the inclusion of history and indigenous culture in Nigeria’s education system. Chizoba has taken her cause to the Nigerian presidency and the curriculum agency of the Nigerian Ministry of Education. Currently, the advocacy campaign has morphed into the Advocacy for Inclusive Education Summit (ADIES) that brings students and education stakeholders together to discuss equity/inclusion issues in Nigeria’s education sector.
Doctor of Education Policy & Leadership
In April 2019, Chizoba successfully defended her PhD in Education Policy & Leadership at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Her doctoral research investigated how Nigerian secondary schools are preparing youth to actively participate and engage in transforming Nigeria into an inclusive, just and prosperous nation for all. Through her research, Chizoba hopes to contribute to ongoing efforts to re-conceptualize and revamp Africa’s education system towards inclusion, cultural relevance and social justice for all students.