Who we are

Who we are

The Community African Network, CAN is a network of African led organisations working together to address key issues affecting the African community in London. CAN was established in June 2016 when 7 local organisations agreed to jointly advocate, campaign, and promote issues around health and well-being affecting African in the UK. The Community African Network registered formally as a Limited by Guarantee November 2019. CAN is a community organisation that is managed by a committee including a chair, secretary, and treasurer. The Community African Network has grown organically from 11 to 15 member organisations. Over the years member organisations have built their internal capacity through training, advocacy capabilities through joint outreaches and support from the Hackney Council Voluntary Service (HCVS).

CAN has a track record of working with African communities to deliver health messages and help change behaviour. Through a network of trained community champions and volunteers CAN engage with the African community in places where people congregate, enabling sympathetic, culturally relevant dialogue and discussion about knowledge, barriers and support. CAN is successfully delivering the sexual health promotion project and Free Condom Project. CAN was also commissioned by the CCG to deliver a TB awareness raising programme via community champions. And currently CAN is delivering with the support of the CCG the bowel cancer awareness project to increase uptake of bowel screening within the elderly Black African community in Hackney.

African Community in Hackney

The population of Africans as a minority ethnic group has grown considerably over the last few years in Hackney. Africans are the 3rd largest ethnic group in Hackney at 11.4% more than the Caribbean community. The African community in Hackney face a range of health challenges which include mental health, obesity, sexual health, HIV and the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM). The causes of these problems are multiple and complex. Mental health is a problem that can arise as a result of the stresses caused by displacement from other countries which are at war; a lot of the local community have experienced and witnessed war crimes. African people face language barriers and isolation is a serious issue due to the loss of community.

We are a membership organisation working with the local community in identifying key issues that represent barriers for residents and this is done through holding focus groups and conversations directly with the residents who are experiencing the problems. Our goal is a healthy African community in Hackney, with lower levels of health problems, better health outcomes and an awareness of the benefits of good health.

CAN Objectives


CAN Member Organisations