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EKUI (Learning Methodology)

For a world with no barriers in learning and communication

EKUI is a universal design for learning methodology, ​that is changing the way children learn and communicate through empathy and inclusion. In our tools, each letter is represented in 4 ways (Graphic; Braille; Sign Language; and Phonetic alphabet). We train parents and teachers to identify barriers in children's development before they become a problem. 76% of the trainees change their practices.

HundrED 2023


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






Target group
August 2023
EKUI has allowed many children to come into our world through their own world, without stopping to be who they are. One cannot be included without being able to read or communicate. EKUI has taught us that. EKUI is changing the way children learn and communicate through empathy and inclusion. And so, it reduces asymmetries in access to knowledge and promotes equal opportunities (SDGs 4 & ODS 10).

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

650 million people worldwide face some “barriers” in their daily lives preventing them from learning and communicating through reading, writing, or speaking. In Portugal we talk about 1.7 million of people. We believe that all children should have equal learning opportunities and communicate without barriers, in a lesser restrictive environment. Only then we’ll have a more inclusive education.

How does your innovation work in practice?

EKUI is a Universal Design methodology for learning the alphabet. It uses visual clues (alphabet of Sign Language), phonoarticulatory clues (alphabet of sounds), and sensory clues (Braille) to enhance learning and communication for all learners, leaving no one behind. It is, therefore, more inclusive and accessible to all. To work the methodology, we use several materials (books, cards) in physical and digital (app) versions. In all materials, each letter has 4 forms of representation and expression: the graphic; the letter in Braille, the alphabet of Sign Language, and the phonetic alphabet (speech sounds). We train parents and professionals to implement the methodology. Afterwards, we provide mentoring in schools and online, and we evaluate the impact through questionnaires validated by universities (pre and post intervention, with control groups). EKUI is committed to preventive intervention to identify abnormal situations early on, before they become a problem in learning.

How has it been spreading?

After 6 years of implementation, from 2015 to 2022, EKUI has reached more than 600 classes in Portugal and 12 classes in several countries. We trained 32,000 parents and teachers and therapists; we worked directly with 13,343 children and youth from 458 cities in Portugal and 12 in the world. At this moment we are a community of 200,000 people, including some migrant and emigrant communities.
We are scaling through a digital platform (in Portuguese and English), where we have provided training and materials with universal design, an App and a manual of use of the EKUI methodology.
We want to continue to deliver EKUI in more schools in Portugal and in the world!

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Access the platform (EKUI.pt) and sign up for our trainings. You must do because: Impact evaluation has shown that professionals change their teaching practices. Children increased their ability to learn letters, developed phonetic skills and improved empathetic attitudes. EKUI has been considered an inclusive and very effective tool by the educational community, working on empathy-based learning.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
I love the acronym EKUI – Equity, Knowledge, Universality and Inclusion which stands for what education is all about. This method created to help people read and communicate has the indisputable potencial to succeed around the world.
EKUI clearly spearheads inclusion in the space of education. This innovation is not only breaking barriers that exist for some children in their journeys of learning but most importantly opens their eyes to various ways/mediums one can learn!
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process


EKUI material whit the Hundred Collection stamp https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KXGWPOvo-fGo7K41PG2EE9ig2n8WVehg/view?usp=drive_link
Photo: Somes EKUI´s Materials
Photo: EKUI: Parent and teacher mentoring sessions
Photo: EKUI Webinars
Photo: EKUI Methodology: Training of Trainers
Ekui e o Monstro das Barreiras - de autoria de Celmira Macedo
Teaser for the children's book "EKUI and the monster of the barriers" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m5-AAUmSVM
Photo: Theater Play "EKUI and the Barrier Monster"
Photo: EKUI: Teachers associating sign language with the letters of the alphabet.
Photo: EKUI´s App
Photo: Teachers working on articulation of sounds in the classroom, after being trained in EKUI.
Story time with the story "EKUI and the monster of the barriers"
Photo: The Ekui methodology as part of the curriculum in a school (Colégio de Gaia, Portugal)
Photo: EKUI Methodology implemented in one of 600 Portuguese schools (Gaia, Portugal)
Photo: Children explore letter sounds and progress in learning to read (Porto, Portugal)
Photo: EKUI in a school with migrant children (Fundão, Portugal)
Vera Santos_Açores_HD_LGP.mp4
Testimony from educator Vera and her son Miguel (from the Azores) https://drive.google.com/file/d/18OdR7VEAXSG5RqPlNgPZoae3hUBBIsKK/view?usp=drive_link
Vídeo equipa EKUI-Depois da apresentação das colegas.mp4
Testimonials about EKUI from children and teachers https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FLt9Rh6YrTPqMRNdhtr_gxlUS03zT5mb/view?usp=drive_link
Prof Silina-video hd_com LGP.mp4
Testimony of Teacher Silina (from Angola) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mse0k7iPxOf85FKKwMKJEhqO4RCcAk4f/view?usp=drive_link
Jornal do Fundão
EKUI outcomes in migrants students https://www.jornaldofundao.pt/mais-jf/one-school-many-cultures?fbclid=IwAR32dd24as-SNe66m4_umvhbZ-rcoDHT_FcOtrJb_u9xcdtSupRAVps1JjE
CNN Portugal.mp4
EKUI - CNN News https://drive.google.com/file/d/131bcmYmEeLp_euc-7-rM9KRW3IZOd1b3/view?usp=drive_link
Professor José Pacheco no II Congresso EKUI "Escola: um lugar de pessoas que constroem pessoas"
The opinion of renowned professor José Pacheco about EKUI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABXvM71u71s
Entrevista Jean Claude e Miquel, Ashoka Espanha, no II Congresso EKUI
Ashoka Fellows opinion about EKUI. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIbvo84amcI
Porto Canal | Manhã Informativa 16 de Novembro de 2021
EKUI on National television https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq62DWKDPDk
Metodologia EKUI
Canal do Youtube EKUI https://www.youtube.com/c/MetodologiaEKUI
Celmira Macedo na I Conferência Internacional "Opening up to an Era of Social Innovation"
Celmira Macedo na I Conferência Internacional "Opening up to an Era of Social Innovation" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC3Ff0eopnY
EKUI, é um dos projetos do vídeo institucional do PORTUGAL INOVAÇÃO SOCIAL
EKUI, é um dos projetos do vídeo institucional do PORTUGAL INOVAÇÃO SOCIAL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIrhSmukocA
ISTO É O POVO A FALAR | ESPECIAL PORTO | Entrevista Celmira Macedo e Tiago Mayan
ISTO É O POVO A FALAR | ESPECIAL PORTO | Entrevista Celmira Macedo e Tiago Mayan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRuhmzNgYSc
Empreendedora portuguesa entre as melhores do mundo premiada em Espanha
EKUI awarded in Spain https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/pais/1868529/empreendedora-portuguesa-entre-as-melhores-do-mundo-premiada-em-espanha
Prémio Maria José Nogueira Pinto entregue pelo Presidente da República
EKUI Awarded by the Portuguese President https://www.presidencia.pt/atualidade/toda-a-atualidade/2018/07/premio-maria-jose-nogueira-pinto-entregue-pelo-presidente-da-republica/
Celmira Macedo é personalidade do ano 2017
EKUI founder, Celmira Macedo is recognized as personality of the year in the area of social economy by CASES (2017) https://www.solidariedade.pt/site/detalhe/13225
EKUI: como é que um baralho de cartas pode ajudar a aprender o alfabeto
EKUI, letters to help learn the alphabethttps://www.publico.pt/2021/09/29/impar/noticia/ekui-baralho-cartas-ajudar-aprender-alfabeto-1978200
Celmira-macedo-a-teacher-who-created-an-inclusive alphabet https://www.noticiasmagazine.pt/2019/celmira-macedo-a-professora-que-criou-um-alfabeto-inclusivo/historias/238685/
Mudar dói, mas não mudar mata o futuro das crianças | Celmira Macedo | TEDxPorto
TEDx 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFN3Gmsmzio
EKUI wins prize for innovative learning methodology https://www.delas.pt/metodo-de-aprendizagem-inovador-vale-premio-a-celmira-macedo/atualidade/922833/
Celmira Macedo no top 100 das mulheres líderes no empreendedorismo social
LIDL deu a conhecer os 10 vencedores do ″Mais Ajuda″
EKUI is News in Brasil https://www.divinopolis.mg.gov.br/portal/noticias/0/3/15530/vice-prefeita-encontra-autoridades-e-participa-de-palestras-em-viagem-a-portugal
Activa | Há uma invenção portuguesa entre as cem melhores do mundo
News related with HundrED https://activa.pt/emocoes/2022-10-28-ha-uma-invencao-portuguesa-entre-as-cem-melhores-do-mundo/
Nacional - JN
The Finnish organization Hundred considered Ekui as one of the one hundred most innovative and impactful educational methodologies in the world in the field and awarded it the HundrED Global Collection 2023 prize, presented this Wednesday to Celmira Macedo, the mentor, at a session in Helsinki https://www.jn.pt/nacional/metodologia-criada-por-portuguesa-considerada-uma-das-100-mais-inovadoras-d
Metodologia de ensino criada por Celmira Macedo considerada uma das 100 melhores inovações do mundo
News related with HundrED https://www.brigantia.pt/noticia/metodologia-de-ensino-criada-por-celmira-macedo-considerada-uma-das-100-melhores-inovacoes
Metodologia de ensino EKUI ganha prémio mundial na Finlândia
"Estamos a transformar uma geração de crianças" através da empatia e da inclusão
Rede Regional
News related with HundrED https://www.rederegional.com/rede-academica/36892-escola-de-educacao-e-parceira-de-uma-das-100-melhores-inovacoes?fbclid=IwAR0WxReyr6gDGxKApPx4-mommnZvEyE3c4zqT-3pABR3wX_7iHIshHM7QXc
Inovação Social Portuguesa a dar cartas pelo mundo  - ESLIDER Portugal
News related with HundrED https://esliderportugal.pt/2022/11/04/inovacao-social-portuguesa-a-dar-cartas-pelo-mundo/
Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém é parceira de uma das 100 melhores inovações educativas do mundo - Mais Ribatejo
News related with HundrED https://maisribatejo.pt/2022/11/09/escola-superior-de-educacao-de-santarem-e-parceira-de-uma-das-100-melhores-inovacoes-educativas-do-mundo/
Metodologia criada por Celmira Macedo considerada uma das 100 mais inovadoras do mundo
News related with HundrED https://www.ucp.pt/pt-pt/noticias/metodologia-criada-por-celmira-macedo-considerada-uma-das-100-mais-inovadoras-do-mundo
Metodologia criada por docente da Católica Braga considerada uma das 100 mais inovadoras do mundo
News related with HundrED https://www2.braga.ucp.pt/index.php/component/k2/item/621-metodologia-criada-por-docente-da-catolica-braga-considerada-uma-das-100-mais-inovadoras-do-mundo?fbclid=IwAR0r1eVgm6gUkTzSnbHz6XXK1Em1vsutv2mpIi1HXD4-R2Ajz5uEUsB6wXs
Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2023 Introducing Women Trailblazers - Euclid Network
International News: https://euclidnetwork.eu/2023/03/top-100-women-in-social-enterprise-2023-introducing-women-trailblazers/
Celmira Macedo apresenta a Metodologia EKUI na Casa Feliz da SIC
EKUI in Portugal national TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhqOCkmW25A
Ekui. Una plataforma de aprendizaje inclusivo
EKUI is news in Spain: https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/para-todos-la-2/ekui-plataforma-aprendizaje-inclusivo/6089307/
Portuguesa que criou um alfabeto inclusivo premiada em Espanha
La Fundación Ashoka premia los proyectos basados en los alimentos ecológicos y el aprendizaje inclusivo
EKUI is news in Spain: https://elpais.com/espana/paisvasco/2021-11-08/la-fundacion-ashoka-premia-los-proyectos-basados-en-los-alimentos-ecologicos-y-el-aprendizaje-inclusivo.html
Congresso EKUI no Sabugal
EKUI´s Congress in Portuguese TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuMmNU1ct50&t=1s
Ekui: o método que ensina às crianças as letras em som, gesto e braille
News in Portuguese national TV: https://sicnoticias.pt/janela-de-esperanca/2022-11-14-Ekui-o-metodo-que-ensina-as-criancas-as-letras-em-som-gesto-e-braille-a049bbd2
EKUI - Congresso EKUI "Escola: um lugar de pessoas que... | By EKUI | Congresso EKUI "Escola: um lugar de pessoas que constroem pessoas" 🚀 Agradecemos à Localvisão TV - Guarda por esta reportagem incrível sobre o nosso...
II EKUI International Congress: School, a place of people who transform people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuMmNU1ct50&t=1s
Sabugal recebeu II Congresso EKUI
EKUI´s International Congress: https://maisbeiras.sapo.pt/sabugal-recebeu-ii-congresso-ekui?fbclid=IwAR1XKcuJ2Ks0x_Lo1ddgT-PS2pCYM0tyR5KucVg-iiaTmn21RH8dZ9PSTzc
Público | EKUI: como é que um baralho de cartas pode ajudar a aprender o alfabeto - EKUI
Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém é parceira de uma das 100 melhores inovações educativas do mundo - Mais Ribatejo
Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém is a partner of one of the 100 best educational innovations in the world
O projecto EKUI e o sucesso que levou à distinção da empreendedora Celmira Macedo
Metodologia Ekui considerada uma das cem com mais impacto no mundo
Ekui methodology considered one of the hundred with the most impact in the world
Metodologia criada por portuguesa considerada uma das 100 mais inovadoras do mundo
Methodology created by Portuguese considered one of the 100 most innovative in the world
EKUI is also a play with intergenerational actors: "Ekui and the Barrier Monster" https://www.cincoquinas.net/?news=sabugal-recebe-ekui-e-o-monstro-das-barreiras
Professora portuguesa ensina as crianças com deficiência a ler, com a ajuda do duende EKUI
How an elf defeats the bogyman
Ekui: o método que ensina às crianças as letras em som, gesto e braille
Ekui: the method that teaches children letters in sound, gesture and braille https://sicnoticias.pt/janela-de-esperanca/2022-11-14-Ekui-o-metodo-que-ensina-as-criancas-as-letras-em-som-gesto-e-braille-a049bbd2
EKUI. Uma metodologia inclusiva contra um modelo de escola pronto-a-vestir
EKUI. An inclusive methodology versus a ready-to-wear school model
Porto Canal | Manhã Informativa 7 de fevereiro de 2023
Porto Canal
Apresentação Celmira Macedo | Ashoka | EN
How to come up with a social innovation to tackle communication barriers: insights from EKUI’s creator, Celmira Macedo - Social Innovation Academy
EKUI´s Methodology
EKUI in Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDVlCK6JUGS7Lnft05BJOZQ/videos
EKUI in press
Portugal social innovation presents EKUI in action
Interview to Celmira Macedo at TVI channel (PortugueseTV)
Interview to Celmira Macedo at TVI channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meN4LVyONvE
Celmira Macedo, EKUI´s founder being interviewed at SIC (Portuguese TV)
The founder - Celmira Macedo - being interviewed at SIC noticias when she won the 2020 Maria José Nogueira Pinto award on social responsability.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9p1LvkLJSU

Implementation steps

Training (on-line)
We train parents and professionals to implement the methodology: 1- Initial training, free of charge, for those who buy the materials (2h) 2- Basic training to implement the methodology (10h) 3. Advanced training in partnership with teacher training centers (training of trainers) (25h)
On-line Mentoring
Afterwards, we provide mentoring to teachers in schools (online) to accompany them in the correct implementation, in any doubts they may have, and also to promote a network effect. In the end of each year, we evaluate the impact through university-validated questionnaires.

Spread of the innovation

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