Community-researcher liaisons: the Pathways to Resilience Project Advisory Panel
The Pathways to Resilience Project is an ongoing, community-based participatory research (CBPR) project. Its express focus is the exploration of how at-risk youths use formal services and/or informal, naturally occurring resources to beat the odds that have been stacked against them, with the intent of partnering with communities to promote youth resilience. As part of this exploration, project researchers partnered with representatives of participating communities, or advisory panels (AP). However, in literature documenting the worth of participatory methodologies in knowledge generation and social change, there is little mention of how partnerships with AP support communities build on existing knowledge to effect meaningful change. Therefore, the aim of this article is to report the instrumental case study of the AP to the South African Pathways to Resilience Project, between 2008 and the present, in order to foreground the research-informing, knowledge-generating, and practice-shaping value of collaboration with an AP. Simultaneously, this case showcases the complexity of AP-researcher partnerships in order to sensitise CBPR researchers to the need for reflexive, flexible cooperations if communities are to cogenerate and implement local knowledge in enabling ways.
Keywords: advisory panel; collaboration; community; participatory; partnership; resilience; youth