Hele no ka wai, hele no ka ʻāla, ola ke kalo

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The makawai is the outlet from which the water flows from the ‘auwai into the lo‘i to nourish the entire patch of kalo which, in turn, sustains the community it feeds. This is the process Papa Ola Lōkahi is engaging in – to invest in and harvest that which feeds the community, building the capacity of the lāhui. We call the program Nā Makawai.

In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 designated $6.1 billion to Hawai‘i to devote to community recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $135 million provided to various health care initiatives, $20 million is specifically devoted to Native Hawaiian health, which Papa Ola Lōkahi has been tasked to distribute among a multitude of established organizations that provide various services throughout Hawaiian communities.

Nā Makawai’s two-year funding will be used to increase vaccine capacity, improve COVID-19 response and treatment capacity, increase capacity for accessible and available health care services, and deliver health education and services during the ongoing recovery and stabilization phases.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaiʻi has widened the gaps in access, affordability and availability to health care and highlighted the social and economic disparities already being experienced by Native Hawaiians.

To address such inequities, Nā Makawai is partnering with 20 organizations across five Hawaiian islands because of their stellar work in areas such as primary, dental, behavioral and mental health services, kūpuna care, pregnancy and maternal care, health workforce development, broadband access and telehealth, vaccination outreach and delivery, and health promotion, education and outreach. Throughout this two-year process, we will collect meaningful data and evaluate the broad impacts of this investment

Our Nā Makawai partners are: Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi, Ke Ola Mamo, Nā Puʻuwai, Hoʻola Lāhui Hawaiʻi, Hui No Ke Ola Pono, I Ola Lāhui, KULA no nā Poʻe Hawaiʻi, Project Vision Hawaiʻi, Hoʻoulu ʻĀina at Kōkua Kalihi Valley, Kula Nui o Waimānalo, Puni Ke Ola, ʻAuamo Consulting, Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, Lunalilo Home, Kīpuka O Ke Ola, Kalauokekahuli, ALU LIKE, Department of Native Hawaiian Health (University of Hawaiʻi), AHARO (Hawaiian-serving community health centers), and Premier Medical Group.

We look forward to highlighting the good work that these partners are doing to build capacity and amplify the health and wellbeing of their communities.