Chernobyl – birds dropping out of the sky!

Chernobyl – birds dropping out of the sky!

On 26 April 1986, at 01:23 (UTC+3), reactor four suffered a catastrophic power increase, leading to explosions in its core. This dispersed large quantities of radioactive fuel and core materials into the atmosphere and ignited the combustible graphite moderator. The burning graphite moderator increased the emission of radioactive particles, carried by the smoke, as the reactor had not been encased by any kind of hard containment vessel.

But no one knew about it for some time….

…..until birds started to drop out of the sky -dead!

I was teaching at the time and working on a project called School Links International where I was instrumental in developing ‘curriculum links’ with schools around the world.

My class was linked with schools in Kenya, Nigeria , Finland and others.

One morning (just shortly after April 26 1986) children were excited that they had news from their friends in Finland, but also confused, as were the children in Finland. The children in Finland were watching birds dropping out of the sky -and the birds were already dead!They did not know why.

Much later, although news was stifled, the world got to know about the Chernobyl disaster -but our young reporters got to know about the first signs that something terrible had happened, before the news broke.

The power of children communicating with children in other countries.



Location of Chernobyl nuclear power plant


The abandoned city of Pripyat with Chernobyl plant in the distance

I wonder, 40 years on , how those children (now 49/50 year olds) see the news today!








ICT and education in crisis….

ICT and education in crisis situations.

While working in Tanzania I have realised how a simple mobile phone can support education in rural and isolated communities,so I know ICT can make a difference-what about other marginalised learners?

Can Technology Make a Difference for Education in Conflict and Crisis?

Dr. Negin Dahya, University of Washington, commissioned by GIZ and partners

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) has the potential to support, enhance, and enable education for the most marginalized learners in conflict and crisis settings. A recently released Landscape Review fills knowledge gaps about the use of mobile technology in education in emergencies, lessons learned and opportunities.

The full report is also complemented by three self-paced online learning modules on ICT4E with refugees. The learning modules can be downloaded here. The review and learning modules identify major trends, patterns, knowledge gaps and lessons learned about the use of mobile technologies in crisis and conflict settings and synthesizes key themes and considerations for practitioners and policy makers in this field. The online modules also emphasize practical examples.

Click here to access the report.