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Big Island’s EA Ecoversity Wins MIT Solve Indigenous Community Fellowship

EA Ecoversity receives $10,000 and 10 months of technical support from MIT Solve, as they launch their culturally-driven higher education and career training program for Native Hawaiian youth and young adults.

EA Ecoversity, a culturally-driven higher education and career training program for Native Hawaiian youth and young adults, was named one of eight Indigenous Communities Fellows in the 2020 MIT Solve competition on September 29th. EA Ecoversity was chosen out of 71 Native-led submissions in the nationwide competition to share $100,000 in funding and support. This was the first year that the fellowship was open to Indigenous peoples nationwide.  

 “We could not be more pleased to receive this award, just as we are launching our first EA E-learning course, as well as our workforce development partnership with Aloha Connects Innovation and Aloha Innovation Workforce Hawaiʻi. How incredible! MIT collaborates with us as we grow and nurture emerging, knowledge-based industries and innovation sectors in Hawaiian communities throughout the archipelago,” said Dr. Kū Kahakalau, EA Ecoversity founder and visionary educational leader.

EA stands for Education with Aloha, an ancient yet modern way of teaching developed by Dr. Kū Kahakalau over the past 30 years.  Ea also means sovereignty in Hawaiian because EA Ecoversity is designed to empower Native Hawaiians to thrive in their homeland by engaging in well-earning green careers and creating lifepaths that are meaningful and fulfilling. Each learner has a flexible, personalized learning plan validated by an E-portfolio, to be shared with potential employers, where learners post certificates for courses taken, digital badges, multimedia presentations and other validation of learning.

Designed for the 87% Native Hawaiians with no post-secondary degrees, EA Ecoversity supports all learners to reach their highest level. Building on the success of the Hawaiian-focused charter school movement, spearheaded by Dr. Kahakalau, EA Ecoversity is grounded in a research-based Pedagogy of Aloha, that purports that caring, familial relations, a relevant curriculum and an understanding of one’s responsibility to knowledge acquired, leads to contemporary and traditional rigor, and should be fun at the same time. 

MIT Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and Indigenous Community Fellows like EA Ecoversity to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. 

 Kū-A-Kanaka LLC is a family-owned, native Hawaiian social enterprise, headquartered in Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island, providing quality products and services to revitalize Hawaiian language, culture and traditions, restore a Hawaiian way of life and reconnect kanaka worldwide with their native heritage. Kū-A-Kanaka’s motto is: When Natives Thrive Everyone Benefits! In October 2020, Kū-A-Kanaka launched their EA E-Learning program providing fun, culturally-driven hands-on, virtual Hawaiian language and culture courses to Hawaiian families made up of learners of all ages.  These courses are free to EA Ecoversity learners.

Find EA Ecoversity and Kū-A-Kanaka LLC Online:

Learn more about Kū-A-Kanaka with previous BIP articles: Learn About Hawaii’s History and Hawaiian Independence Day.

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