Partner for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange: National Association of Friendship Centres


The NAFC is democratically governed, status blind and is accountable to the federal government and directly to the urban Aboriginal community. Established in 1972, the NAFC is a network of 116 Friendship Centres from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Friendship Centres are Canada’s most significant off-reserve Aboriginal service delivery infrastructure, achieving 2.6 million points of contact nationwide annually. In 2011- 2012, Friendship Centres across Canada delivered over 1,493 programs and services to approximately 700,000 urban Aboriginal people.


The goal of the NAFC-Pathways-PEKE is to ensure that Friendship Centres are meaningfully and ethically engaged throughout the course of the Pathways initiative. To ensure this, the NAFC will focus on the following:

  • Building community capacity to partner in Pathways research.
  • Building capacity of community to turn research into action by supporting the development and implementation of community specific knowledge mobilization plans.
  • Building researcher capacity to understand and respect the urban Aboriginal research environment.
  • Brokering and supporting research relationships between Friendship Centres and IRTs.
  • Promoting urban Aboriginal research opportunities among post secondary students.
  • Supporting and facilitating the scale-up of interventions.
  • Contributing to knowledge translation and dissemination activities. 


The NAFC-Pathways-PEKE defines partnership as encompassing three levels of engagement.

Full Partners are those who have a direct interest in the PEKE. They will participate in guiding the activities of the PEKE and will play a key role in engaging at the community level. The NAFC-Pathways- PEKE will engage 117 Friendship Centres and representatives from Provincial Territorial Associations as full partners. Full partnership has been limited in this way to ensure that the PEKE process remains community centred and driven.

Collaborators are those organizations or institutions who play a role in achieving health equity at the national level. They may be called upon to provide subject area expertise and will assist in knowledge mobilization. The NAFC-Pathways-PEKE is currently collaborating with the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research at the University of Victoria and will seek to collaborations with other relevant organizations or institutions as work progresses.

Stakeholders are those organizations who will either be impacted by Pathways research outcomes or who may have the potential to participate in the scale up of interventions. Their main role will be to review and disseminate knowledge translation materials. Those organizations that consider themselves as potential stakeholders are welcome to contact the NAFC-Pathways-PEKE manager to discuss opportunities. 


The NAFC-Pathways-PEKE will impact Friendship Centres in two key ways. First, through their participation in Pathways related activities Friendship Centres will be in a position to guide research and leverage findings to advocate for additional program and service funding. Second, Friendship Centres will have the opportunity to develop or increase their capacity to participate in and/or conduct research within their communities. 

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