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Building Resilience through Relationship

The Olohana Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Hawaii. We work with communities to co-build resilience and adaptation strategies to climate change through projects that intersect food, energy, water, and knowledge systems. These projects include the planting of food forests and the Breadfruit/Ulu Initiative, the creation of a youth resilience council as part of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana, conservation of Hawaii National Park Service trails, and other programs and projects that support community relationship and knowledge sharing.

The Olohana Foundation does not work in isolation. Olohana means “all hands working together” and refers to the work carried out with the participation and support of many organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals in collaboration with the Olohana Foundation. Our network is deep and wide. It is through our collective beliefs in the value of working relationships and community values and our efforts to develop these that we are able to bring together diverse skill-sets, knowledge, and resources in our efforts to cultivate community capacity and resiliency in sustainable and long-lasting ways.


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Knowledge Systems

The indigenous and scientific communities each have knowledge systems and ways of learning that are unique and complementary. Similarly, each generation possesses particular knowledge and experience. Knowledge is cultivated through processes and systems.

Olohana works with communities using the Inter-Generational Transfer of Knowledge™ process, facilitating the sharing of knowledge from one generation to the next. We brought an advisory indigenous perspective to efforts such as the National Climate Assessment; and contribute in various roles to the environmental sustainability work of the Indigenous Knowledge and Environment (IKE) Hui (a working group of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana), Huaka’i & Blue Trails, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Association, the Makali’i Polynesian Voyaging Society, and other organizations.

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Food, Energy, and Water Systems

The voice of indigenous communities rings loud and clear: The heart of community natural hazard resilience and climate adaptation is food security. Olohana’s food forest projects are models of capacity- and sustainability-building  in communities throughout our islands.

Olohana partners with such institutions as the University of Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business, Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, and Agroforestry Net to help communities establish micro-enterprises that are aligned with their community values and goals.

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Community Training and Social Enterprise

Olohana and our partners provide training and educational opportunities that empower the community and align with communal values and goals. Programs and projects focus on multi-scale agroforestry; food and energy security; economic development; women and family empowerment; historical, cultural, and environmental protection; disaster preparedness; and climate-change mitigation. Through these activities communities are formed and prepared to act as a cohesive group if and when crisis occurs.