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EKUI - Inclusive 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 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

HundrED Global Collection 2023

Web presence






Target group
June 2024
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 barriers in their daily lives preventing them, from learning and communicating through reading, writing or speaking. 200 million are children. 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 and a sustainable world.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

EKUI is an inclusive methodology for learning how to read and write. Through its multi-sensory approach and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), EKUI offers multiple ways of expressing and representing information, including spelling, Sign Language, Braille code and the Phonetic Alphabet, which makes it a more accessible, motivating and effective methodology for all children, leaving no one behind.
To work the methodology, we use several materials (books, cards) in physical and digital (app) versions. EKUI's work centres on peer relationships and playful learning for children with and without difficulties or abilities.
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 works preventively, identifying irregular situations throughout children's development before they become a problem.

How has it been spreading?

After 8 years of implementation, from 2015 to 2023, EKUI has reached more than 700 classes in Portugal and 12 classes in several countries. We trained 33.000 parents and teachers and therapists; we worked directly with 14.343 children and youth from 458 cities in Portugal and 12 in the world. At this moment we are a community of 250.000 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 an universal design, an App and a "do it yourself" manual for using the EKUI methodology.
We want to continue to deliver EKUI in more schools in Portugal and in the world through creating partnerships with universities and teacher training colleges.

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

Access the platform ( 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
Read more about our selection process

Entrevista Liliana Silva no II Congresso EKUI "Escola: um lugar de pessoas que constroem pessoas"
Celmira Macedo em entrevista no programa Portugal em Direto da RTP
Celmira Macedo apresenta livro "EKUI e o Monstro das Barreiras" no programa "A Nossa Tarde", da RTP
EKUI e o Monstro das Barreiras
Celmira Macedo, do “racismo” ao sistema de ensino para 650 milhões de pessoas
Ciclo de Palestras de Abertura de Ano Letivo com Celmira
Portuguese teacher helps disabled children to read with the help of EKUI, the elf,c638355696750000000
Metodologia EKUI criada por transmontana para facilitar aprendizagem do alfabeto distinguida em Sevilha
EKUI chega às escolas do Concelho de Mora - Portal Institucional do Município de Mora
Sabugal recebe congresso internacional sobre metodologia de aprendizagem EKUI
Sabugal recebe congresso internacional sobre metodologia de aprendizagem EKUI -
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
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
Vídeo equipa EKUI-Depois da apresentação das colegas.mp4
Prof Silina-video hd_com LGP.mp4
Jornal do Fundão
CNN Portugal.mp4
Professor José Pacheco no II Congresso EKUI "Escola: um lugar de pessoas que constroem pessoas"
Entrevista Jean Claude e Miquel, Ashoka Espanha, no II Congresso EKUI
Porto Canal | Manhã Informativa 16 de Novembro de 2021
Metodologia EKUI
Celmira Macedo na I Conferência Internacional "Opening up to an Era of Social Innovation"
EKUI, é um dos projetos do vídeo institucional do PORTUGAL INOVAÇÃO SOCIAL
ISTO É O POVO A FALAR | ESPECIAL PORTO | Entrevista Celmira Macedo e Tiago Mayan
Empreendedora portuguesa entre as melhores do mundo premiada em Espanha
Prémio Maria José Nogueira Pinto entregue pelo Presidente da República
Celmira Macedo é personalidade do ano 2017
EKUI: como é que um baralho de cartas pode ajudar a aprender o alfabeto
Celmira-macedo-a-teacher-who-created-an-inclusive alphabet
Mudar dói, mas não mudar mata o futuro das crianças | Celmira Macedo | TEDxPorto
EKUI wins prize for innovative learning methodology
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
Activa | Há uma invenção portuguesa entre as cem melhores do mundo
Nacional - JN
Metodologia de ensino criada por Celmira Macedo considerada uma das 100 melhores inovações do mundo
Metodologia de ensino EKUI ganha prémio mundial na Finlândia
"Estamos a transformar uma geração de crianças" através da empatia e da inclusão
Rede Regional
Inovação Social Portuguesa a dar cartas pelo mundo  - ESLIDER Portugal
Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém é parceira de uma das 100 melhores inovações educativas do mundo - Mais Ribatejo
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
Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2023 Introducing Women Trailblazers - Euclid Network
Celmira Macedo apresenta a Metodologia EKUI na Casa Feliz da SIC
Ekui. Una plataforma de aprendizaje inclusivo
Portuguesa que criou um alfabeto inclusivo premiada em Espanha
La Fundación Ashoka premia los proyectos basados en los alimentos ecológicos y el aprendizaje inclusivo
Congresso EKUI no Sabugal
Ekui: o método que ensina às crianças as letras em som, gesto e braille
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...
Sabugal recebeu II Congresso EKUI
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
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
Metodologia criada por portuguesa considerada uma das 100 mais inovadoras do mundo
EKUI is also a play with intergenerational actors: "Ekui and the Barrier Monster"
Professora portuguesa ensina as crianças com deficiência a ler, com a ajuda do duende EKUI
Ekui: o método que ensina às crianças as letras em som, gesto e braille
EKUI. Uma metodologia inclusiva contra um modelo de escola pronto-a-vestir
Porto Canal | Manhã Informativa 7 de fevereiro de 2023
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 press
Portugal social innovation presents EKUI in action
Interview to Celmira Macedo at TVI channel (PortugueseTV)
Celmira Macedo, EKUI´s founder being interviewed at SIC (Portuguese TV)
Show more

Implementation steps

Training (online)
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);
4- Payment-based access to the EKUI educational platform, with courses available to the educational community.
As soon as they join our community, parents and teachers have access to mentoring (in schools or online) to accompany them in the implementation, to clear up any doubts and also to promote a network effect:
At the beginning of the school year we administer phonological awareness, literacy and psychological assessment scales - Pre tests (ex ante);
At the end of the year, the post-test (ex post).
We evaluate the impact through partner universities.
Impact measurement and evaluation
In the 2022/2023 school year, of the 1,646 children who were targeted by this solution, 61% improved their skills, after the intervention compared to the control groups: Faster learning of the alphabet (94%); Improved communication and language skills (94%); Improvement in citizenship/empathy attitudes (99%). 86.96% of the teachers changed their practices towards more efficient and more inclusive practices. This evaluation was carried out independently by two Portuguese universities.

Spread of the innovation

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