Young Campaigner Award

Kwajo Tweneboa – Campaign for better living conditions across the UK


A champion for vulnerable people living in squalid conditions, forcing landlords and housing associations to acknowledge their responsibilities and make urgent, necessary repairs.

The Campaign

Kwajo Tweneboa knows what it’s like to live in squalid housing. Before his family moved into a permanent home, a social housing flat on the Eastfields estate in south London, they had lived in a succession of poor-quality temporary homes. His father had tried hard to secure permanent accommodation but, when they moved into Eastfields, their living conditions worsened. Despite repeated requests to carry out essential repairs, Kwajo says they received little support from their housing association landlord Clarion.

Sadly, Kwajo’s father became terminally ill, and the family nursed their dying father in a damp, vermin and fly-infested flat. It was so bad that Macmillan nurses caring for his father were unable to bathe him in the bathroom as it had no lights and the tiles were falling apart.

Kwajo turned his family’s awful experience into activism. He said, ‘I decided to put my foot down and say enough is enough, not just for myself but millions of social housing tenants across the UK. Over the last year I have been shaming landlords who have chosen to abuse and neglect vulnerable tenants in similar situations to mine and campaign for changes to regulation at senior government level.’

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The Change

Kwajo has shaken up the social housing sector and become a campaigning powerhouse. At 23, he’s appeared on the BBC and ITV News, has been profiled in The Guardian, and featured in The Big Issue’s list of Top 100 Changemakers.

On Twitter, he publicises social landlords’ failures, highlighting issues and posting questions and photos directly to them. Eastfields residents’ association helped him with a mail-drop to every tenant and, within half an hour, he was inundated with shocking stories. He visits people who contact him, takes photos then uses his profile to hold housing associations to account. Tweets go viral, attracting attention from the national media.

He found Eastfields tenants to speak to ITV for an investigation into disrepair, after which Clarion apologised and carried out repairs on the estate. Since its public shaming, Clarion claims to have knocked on the door of ‘each and every home’ in Eastfields to inform residents of its plans for the area and opened a new on-site office. It announced a £1.3bn regeneration project in Merton, including the Eastfields estate and says it has completed more than 600 repairs on Eastfields since June 2021, as well as kitchen and bathroom replacements in 24 properties, as part of their investment programme.

The Future

Although he’s now studying at the University of Leicester, Kwajo continues to help thousands of families living in horrific conditions on his own estate and beyond, shaming landlords into carrying out necessary work. He wants landlords to receive sanctions for failures, and more strict and detailed regulation to prevent anything of this scale ever occurring again.

Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett donated £10,000 to Kwajo and promised to give him camera equipment to carry on his work.

He met with Secretary of State Michael Gove and the Mayor of London to advise on policy changes to regulation when it comes to housing and tenants’ safety, which will help influence the forthcoming housing White Paper.