Kū-A-Kanaka LLC, a female-owned and operated social enterprise from Hawaii headquartered in Hilo on the island of Hawaii, received $ 10,000 from the Hawai’i People’s Fund for design, test and launch ‘Īpuka EA, an innovative and culturally-based indigenous learner management system designed to manage learners attending EA Ecoversity, a tuition-free, development-oriented higher education and vocational training program culture for young native Hawaiians. In addition to EA Ecoversity learners, ʻĪpuka EA will enable other native Hawaiians and interested Hawaiian residents to obtain various culture-based micro-accreditations, certified by esteemed experts in language, culture and language. Hawaiian industry native and verified via a digital e-portfolio. The goal of ʻĪpuka EA is to create culture-based micro-accreditations, designed to increase employability and job security, transparent and non-threatening, especially for those without a degree. post-secondary.

ʻĪpuka Ea builds on Dr. Kahakalau’s decades of action research in the field of Indigenous education, and more recently on Indigenous e-learning, learner management and micro-accreditation. “This funding gives EA Ecoversity the momentum to fully develop a unique Indigenous Learner Management System, designed from a holistic Indigenous worldview,” said Krisha Zane, administrator of EA Ecoversity. “Our micro-accreditations will help employers identify job candidates who have the skills they are looking for and will open career paths for young native Hawaiians previously inaccessible without a college degree.”

For decades, Native Hawaiians had the highest rates of poverty and unemployment of any major ethnic group, due to the fact that more than 70% of Native Hawaiians did not have a post-secondary degree, compared to 40% statewide. EA Ecoversity aims to address this injustice by offering dozens of culture-based micro-accreditations, as well as four digital badges focused on the foundations of Hawaiian language and culture, Aloha ʻĀina, exploration and career training and 21st Century Life Skills, with the ultimate goal of receiving an EA Ecoversity Diploma that certifies them as educated 21st Century Hawaiians. The micro-accreditation process, which will be managed by ʻĪpuka EA, will enable young Hawaiians to enter the paid careers of their choice and prepare them for success in life.

EA Ecoversity was started in 2020 by Kū-A-Kanaka CEO Dr Kū Kahakalau with the goal of helping young Hawaiians between the ages of 15 and 30 reach their highest potential and thrive in as 21st century Hawaiians. This includes a focus on Kanaka entrepreneurship by drawing on the creativity and ability to innovate innate among young indigenous Hawaiians. “Our young people have incredible potential. Unfortunately, today’s post-secondary institutions are not suited to their learning styles, cultural preferences or financial realities, ”explained Dr Kahakalau. “That’s why we created EA Ecoversity. Although EA Ecoversity is free, learners are expected to return the favor through service learning and help Kū-A-Kanaka generate income to run EA Ecoversity.

EA Ecoversity is fiscally sponsored by Kū-A-Kanaka LLC, www.kuakanaka.com, an Indigenous Hawaiian social enterprise specializing in cultural products and services that revitalize Hawaiian language and culture, reconnect Native Hawaiians to ancestral knowledge and practices, and restore a Hawaiian way of life through ‘āina-based living. As an impact organization, Kū-A-Kanaka reinvests all profits into EA Ecoversity with the goal of helping to recreate a thriving Hawaiian nation.


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