Solution Overview

Solution Name:

EA Ecoversity

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One-line solution summary:

Empowering Native Hawaiians youth and young adults to reach their highest potential as they reconnect to their native language and culture.

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Pitch your solution.

EA Ecoversity is designed to empower the 52% Native Hawaiian youth and young adults who are not pursuing a post-secondary education and generally end up on the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, often houseless in their homeland and without hope for the future.  EA Ecoversity will provide these learners with an affordable option to attain basic foundations in Hawaiian language and culture, so that they can be proud of who they are, explore and prepare for a career of their choice, attain basic lifeskills, including financial literacy, and participate in food sovereignty efforts and environmental stewardship.  If scaled appropriately, EA Ecovesity could change the lives of Indigenous youth on all islands, as well as Native youth residing on the US continent, with a viable  blends on and offline learning, and allows Native Hawaiians to develop and hone the necessary skills to become quality community contributors.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

EA Ecoversity aims to aid the existing issue of lack of education with our Native Hawaiian population.  52% of Native Hawaiian youth and young adults are not provided post secondary education in their communities, and most of them end on the bottom half of the socio-economic ladder.  EA Ecoversity hopes to provide an affordable, and personalized learning plan so that this demographic can gain the confidence and become affluent in their interested area of study.  

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What is your solution?

EA Ecoversity is a personalized, blended online & offline learning experience in the atmosphere of Aloha.  Incorporating public, private and valuable community resources, learners with be be provided the expertise and the support that they need to reach their full potentials.  Through online courses, webinars, videos, podcasts, e-libray and a customized app, our students will be able to access the necessary online resources at their convenience to accommodate their personal lives.  This is a two-year program that learners will earn digital badges, and work towards completion of an e-portfolio, as well as gain hands-on work experiences in their desired career fields. 

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Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?

Our primary focus is to empower the 52% of Native Hawaiians age 15-30 years old with no post-secondary education.  Graduates of the 12 Hawaiian-focused Charter Schools across 3 Hawaiian Islands as well as young adults balancing the responsibilities of their lives will also benefit from EA Ecoversity.  The flexibility that EA Ecoversity provides with its curriculum and self-guided modules make it accessible and obtainable for learners with busy lives.  In-order to ensure the highest quality and achievement, each student is assigned a mentor depending on the students area of interest.  A one-on-one mentorship will provide the support to keep the students engaged throughout their learning journey.  EA Ecoversity provides an affordable solution for local youth and young adults to attain the skills to contribute to their local communities. Validated through E-portfolios and digital badges, our Hawaii non-profit community has expressed strong support for hiring students who have completed this program.  Online and offline education with aloha provides practical application for our students to propel themselves into the workforce and contribute to their home communities.

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Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?

Support language and cultural revitalization, quality K-12 education, and support for first-generation college students

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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Fellowship and your selected dimension.

Our problem, solution and our target population are aligned with the goals of the Fellowship.  Our solution covers the education aspect of our Native Hawaiian community, and we are committed to the well being of our youth as they grow through their young adult years.  The target population are the young adults who do not pursue post-secondary education.  EA Ecoversity is a post-secondary education option available to encourage our your emerging generation to reach their full potential. 

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Hilo, HI, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community

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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Kū Kahakalau

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.

Native Hawaiian

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Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?

Yes

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

What makes EA Ecoversity so innovative is the flexibility in the curriculum development and its blended learning techniques.  Learners are encouraged to explore various areas of study and pairing each student with a corresponding mentor will ensure that they remain on track with their online studies as well as meeting criteria towards their goals in a timely manner.  Moreover, a mentorship from someone in a specific field of study, will serve as an invaluable resource to learn first-hand and real-life skills.  The blended learning is an appealing form of education that will encourage hands-on learners, who may have been discourages from their former school systems.  Having a balance in curriculum is crucial to shape well rounded individuals, and to allow for their full potentials to emerge during the process.  

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology for this solution would be on customized Learning Management System (LMS.)  If chosen, we plan to utilize the funds to help our group create an online platform that will string together all of the major components we are looking to include.  We would like to include items such as: online registration packets, on-line chat for teachers and students to communicate, web modules, and resources for internships to name a few.  Although having a fully functioning LMS would be ideal, we are prepared to work through the next best option of manually inputing student infographic on our own database and spreadsheets, and teach through third-party websites such as google classroom to get started.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

EA Ecoversity is a model created from the Global Ecoversities Alliance. Ecoversities are learners and communities reclaiming diverse knowledge, relationships and imaginations to design new approaches to higher education.  This global education approach is being adapted in smaller communities throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, Central & South America.  As an emerging knowledge movement, these pedagogical initiatives are rigorous in a sense that they both critique the existing education systems, as well as cultivate new practices to regenerate ecological, social and cultural ecosystems, whilst also reflecting on the meaning of "home" as a locality and as an "economy."  Other Ecoversities and their personalized projects throughout the world can be found at https://ecoversities.org/ecoversities/ 

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
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What is your theory of change?

EA Ecoversityʻs method of education has a unique curriculum that appeals to the specific demographic of youth and young adults who do not pursue post-secondary education.  By creating outlets of learning outside of the classroom, our learners are guided to gain hands-on experience that will help them make the shift from youth to mature adult.  This blended model of offline and online learning gives learners the edge that they need to compete in the workforce and to be able to contribute to their communities.   

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Children & Adolescents
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
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In which state(s) do you currently operate?

  • Hawaii
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In which state(s) will you be operating within the next year?

  • Hawaii
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

We currently are serving 10 learners as our soft-launch pilot project.  As 2020 as our launch year, we plan to keep enrollment between 10-20 learners to provide maximum quality during our developmental stages.  The first three years will be similar so that we can provide detailed learning experiences.  Expansion during this time will be at most 30-50 active participants.  Once we have established a refined technique, we will open it up to hundreds, even thousands of learners. 

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

During the first year, we aim to provide quality education for our first 10 learners.  With a customized learning management system, we will be able to achieve the obtainable goal to reach our learners through online dashboards, and get them started on their e-portfolios as well as partnering our learners with their mentors.  Starting with our 10 pilot project students will ensure that we can monitor and actively improve operation strategies over the two-year course.  Each year we hope to double the applications and admit more students into our program, until our official launch to the general public in 2024.    

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Our main priority at this time is creating a reliable and interactive learning management system to serve as the online platform where our learners can access from their various locations.  This grant will help to fund a software developer position to create a customized platform that will accommodate EA Ecoversityʻs needs.   

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

Our EA Ecoversity team is currently working on gathering the necessary financial and logistical resources to successfully equip our software developer.  Our alternative is to utilize already existing platforms such as google classrooms, and communication through emails to overcome our technological barriers.  Although temporary, these existing platforms do function and provide the basic needs to get EA Ecoveristy on track to prepare for our customized learning management system. 

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

2 contract workers

2 part-time

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

5

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our team is well-positioned to deliver this solution because of the successful track record of creating and developing innovative education programs.  Within out team, one of our members started the first Hawaiian-focused public charter school (PK-12) since 2000. Enrollment is 80+% of Native Hawaiians.  Moreover, this school was able to obtain the WASC-HAIS Accreditation.  Other team members have business backgrounds and can provide administrative support.  Our software developer is highly skilled in the creating and deployment of our online learning management systems.  As a team, we cover all aspects to have a successful launch this fall 2020. 

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

The local organizations below partner with us in various ways whether it is through education collaborations, consulting support, grant writing, community outreach, or providing support for EA Ecoversitys mentorship program.  

In Peace

Kaʻala Farm 

Kaʻehu

Maʻo Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Mana Maoli

Kamehameha Schools 

Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

Keiki O Ka ʻĀina 

Hui Mālama I Ke Ala ʻŪlili

Kua O Ka Lā 

University of Hawaii West Oʻau

KUPU 

Kōkua Kalihi Valley 

Pōhāhā I Ka Lani

Aha Aloha ʻĀina

Maui Food Innovation Center 

Ecoversities



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Your Business Model & Partnerships

What is your path to financial sustainability?

Ea Ecoversity in its infancy is a sponsored pilot project through Kū-A-Kanaka, a social enterprise that focused on Native Hawaiian education.  As our main stream of income, Kū-A-Kanaka is in good standing to take one this project in its early phases.  Kū-A-Kanaka has shown exponential financial growth within the last three years, with an average financial growth rate of 98%.  EA Ecoversity will also have admission and tuition fees for students to help offset initial costs.  EA Ecoversity is currently working on a collaborative initiative with a Kua o Ka Lā, a public charter school to house and incubate EA Ecoversity as an early-college prep course for their students. With this initiative, EA Ecoversity will be funded through grants and through the state.  

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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

Our estimated expense for this project is roughly 20-30,000

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

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Why are you applying to Solve?

Solve will provide the resources that our organization needs to adequately  develop our technology aspect of EA Ecoversity.  If chosen, we plan to use the $10,000 for staffing to hire a highly qualified Software Developer.  Over the span of three months, we hope to use about $8,000-$9,000 for personnel while using the remainder for supplies, licensing, and any other expenses. 

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Solution technology
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Please explain in more detail here.

An ideal partner in this solution will be able to provide technological support for our program in coding, software development, and handing front and back-end programing to help us create the optimum and functioning learning management system.  Although our team has the basic skills in this area, we could benefit from having another resource to seek advice in efficiency to complete this task.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

Although we do not have any specific organizations in mind, our team is willing to extend our reach to groups that might have this specialized skill.  Having a partner that could contribute to our solution will allow for more learners to be attracted to our solution in the long-run.  By making a learning management system that is first, user friendly, we will be able to retain and encourage our learners to complete this program.  

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Experian Prize to advance your solution?

EA Ecoversity provides a career exploration and job training programs that will re-skill and up-skill the workforce as a result from COVID-19, as well as providing an educational outlet to allow learners to explore new career fields since many jobs have been dissolved as a result of COVID-19. Moreover, one of the learning focuses also encompasses financial literacy for young adults, along with many other 21st century life skills.
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Solution Team

 
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