2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship


EA Ecoversity

Empowering Native Hawaiian youth and young adults to reach their highest potential and solve 21st century challenges by reconnecting to their Native language and culture.

Team Lead

Kū Kahakalau

Solution Pitch

The Problem

After being among the most literate people in the world before the US overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, intense Americanization of the public school system has left Native Hawaiians as Hawaiʻi’s most under- and uneducated major ethnic group in their own homeland. Moreover, with the ban of the Hawaiian language in public schools in 1896, over 90% of young Native Hawaiians today are unable to communicate in Hawaiian or practice cultural protocol and ceremonies.

The Solution 

EA Ecoversity is a culturally-driven, no-cost higher education, career training and workforce development program that empowers native Hawaiian youth and young adults to reach their highest potential. To facilitate such an experience, EA Ecoversity has designed an Indigenous Learning Management system (I-LMS) shell focusing on Indigenous needs and propensities. Once coded and de-bugged, this I-LMS will feature a blended e-learning and job training program grounded in an atmosphere of aloha.

While EA Ecoversity is tuition free, Native Hawaiian learners are expected to reciprocate throughout their two-year learning journey by gifting their time and skills to the program following a pattern of reciprocal giving successfully practiced by Native Hawaiians for thousands of years. 


Although just launched in Oct 2020, EA Ecoversity has 33 enrolled learners, all Native Hawaiian, ages 15 to 29, of whom 12 are currently engaged in full-time, living-wage career internships with medical benefits and are receiving training in Career Planning, E-Portfolio Creation, Hawaiian Protocol, Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Culture and Historical Trauma Training.

Market Opportunity

The $180 billion dollar online education industry is projected to grow to $350 billion by 2025. The $16.1 billion US Trade and Technical Schools Industry is also expected to surge in 2021 due to an increase in the unemployment rate, which is higher in Hawaiʻi than in any other US state. EA Ecoversity aims to address the education and opportunity gap facing the Native Hawaiian population, totalling 500,000 worldwide. Other target markets include the 180,000 Hawaiian public school students mandated by the Hawaiʻi State Constitution to learn Hawaiian language and culture, as well as other Indigeous communities.  

Organization Highlights

  • Operationalize EA Ecoversity as a stable, sustainable business, free to EA Ecoversity learners

  • Have a functioning, fully de-bugged learning management system, rooted in Indigenous paradigms and values, with the potential of managing thousands to tens of thousands of learners. 

  • Have the entire EA Ecoversity administration run by EA Ecoversity learners and graduates. 

Partnership Goals

  • EA Ecoversity wishes to partner with seasoned experts in coding culturally-driven Learning Management Systems to support the growth and success of our learners.

  • Additionally, we wish to partner with Indigenous Graphic Designers to help promote our Indigenous values system in the design and layout of our website and Learning Management System. 

Solver Team

Organization Type:
For-Profit - Social Enterprise

Hilo, United States


Working in:



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