We are glad to report a very successful 2021 year, blessed by so many incredible volunteers across the world who have given their time, advice, and expertise, by our monetary donors, and so many others who encourage and bless our work. It is impossible to thank all of you as much as we would like, but know that we pray for each of you and hope you will celebrate some of the products of your support below with us.
Not listed in order of importance - 2021 successes and great optimism for the ongoing projects in 2022:
1. Spring 2021 - ACLENet led multiple international conferences across 15 times zones and 38 countries to bring together lightning safety advocates worldwide in preparation for 28 June 2021, International Lightning Safety Day (ILSD 2021), the tenth anniversary of the Runyanya Disaster where 18 children were killed and 38 hospitalized from one lightning strike
that struck Runyanya primary school in 2011. This disaster catalyzed the formation of ACLENet. Over the past decade, lightning safety advocacy programs have grown from 2 to now over a dozen around the world!
2. ACLENet partnered with Polytech
, an international leader in lightning protection (LP) of renewable energy projects worldwide, who donated materials and other costs to protect a 7th school in Uganda, Mongoyo Primary School, where 3 children were killed and dozens injured in October 2018
. (See video report
of our investigation and reporting of this incident). Phase 1 completed, Phases 2 and 3 to be completed in 2022.
While delayed by Covid and many other challenges, group cohesion was built across LPWG committees which led to
solutions to lightning protection challenges, few of which have been addressed by international standards committees. Many LPWG members serve on these committees and will be reporting to their committees to address real world LP challenges in the future.
3. Four more schools were surveyed for LP, and we are happy to report that Gopa Kumar, a well respected and leading LP expert and lightning safety advocate in India, has agreed to donate materials to protect one of these schools. We will be looking for monetary donations to cover the installation at the school as well as for LP systems at the other schools in 2022.
4. An aggressive fundraising campaign for the Holiday season resulted in a 75% increase in donations over 2020!!! Our thanks to those who donated, and especially to those faithful donors who stepped up to record messages that were spread across social media and mailed out to this mailing list as part of this campaign: Barb Wolter
, Walt Lyons
, Rick O'Keefe, Marvin Wayne
, and Ron Holle
. Thanks also to the Leuthold Family Foundation for their substantial annual grants.
5. ACLENet's Board of Directors
was expanded with individuals who have been staunch ACLENet supporters. They are now taking the lead in fundraising, developing educational materials for schools, teachers, and staff, in newsletter redesign, working with the government of Uganda, financial management and policies, and so many other areas important to ACLENet's growth.
7. ACLENet reported on our investigations of mass casualty lightning incidents investigation at Mongoyo and Arua Mass schools to the Government of Uganda at meetings attended by Honorable Hilary Onek, Minister for Disaster Preparedness and a strong supporter of ACLENet. Results of these investigations were also presented at meetings with SESEMAT (Secondary School Science and Math teachers in Uganda) and with the Primary Education division of the Ministry of Education and Sports.
8. The Public Service Announcement (PSA) that was broadcast in English
during the 2020 Christmas holidays has been translated into Luganda
, the most widely spoken indigenous language in Uganda, and broadcast to the rural population over the 2021 Holiday season thanks to a grant from a Rotary Club in the Netherlands.
9. The Display House for education in LP best practices is nearly complete. We hope to use this, together with the schools ACLENet has protected that are scattered across Uganda, to educate teachers, district school officials, professional engineers, architects and electrical installers in LP best practices.
10. ACLENet's staff has decided that one of our long term dreams should come true in 2022 -- to visit each of the schools we have protected and invite surrounding school officials to sessions that will teach them about lightning and lightning safety, about what standardized LP looks like on a real school, how to lobby the Ugandan government to protect their own schools, and how to teach lightning safety to their communities. Additionally, these visits will teach school officials at the protected schools how to periodically inspect and maintain the LP systems they have and send us information on any repairs or modifications needed for new classrooms, erosion, and other threats to the LP system integrity. We hope this will open lines of communication broader than we have had before as well as mentor our staff to be able to answer lightning questions as they do future visits to our schools.
BE PREPARED FOR APPEALS TO FUND THIS!!!
11. Starting in 2021, the African FLASH has been translated to French, Spanish and Portuguese so that we can reach people in non-English speaking countries. Our thanks to:
A. Stephane Schmitt,
Meteorage, France, and Newsletter French translator,
B. Paola Luria,
Brazil, Newsletter Portuguese translator,
C. Daniel Esteban Villamil Sierra,
engineer, doctoral student from Colombia, South America, and Newsletter Spanish translator.
We wish ALL of you and your families a WONDERFUL and HAPPY 2022!