Changing Perceptions, Countering Myths, Teaching Behaviors
Many people believe that death, injury and property damage from lightning is inevitable and something they have little power to change. Others believe that lightning will never hurt them and that the ‘odds’ are in their favor. Some believe that they can attract lightning by what they wear or do. Still others believe that witches can be hired to call lightning down on their enemies. Many of these beliefs have been strongly held and taught to from generation to generation.
While cultural sensitivity and respect is required, education is the key - that lightning has a scientific basis, that it can be detected, quantified, described, and that there are behaviors individuals can take to change their risk of lightning injury.
ACLENet has signed an agreement with the Uganda Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers (SESEMAT) program within the Ministry of Education and Sports to do a pilot program Training the Trainers who then train pilot region's grassroots science teachers, bringing scientific education to the classrooms of their schools and students. Additionally, as leaders in their communities, we are asking them to report all of the lightning incidents they hear of in their areas in order to pilot a lightning injury database superior to what we have been able to collect from news reports alone.
ACLENet is doing public education as well as the 'Lightning Kills! Save a Life in Africa' program protecting schools. This website also contains the largest existing database of African lightning injuries for use by researchers, governments and the media to raise awareness of the risk.
On November 27, 2017, a pilot program for teacher and public education was given at Shone Primary School in the Hoima area of Uganda. Similar programs are done at schools ACLENet and donors have protected.