Brian observed his friends and family members misusing medical drugs including antibiotics (underdosing, overdosing, self-diagnosis and prescription among other inappropriate handling of antibiotics) since he was a primary school student. This seemed so wrong to him and he would try, where possible, to ‘advise’ otherwise.
Upon joining Moi University, Kenya for his undergraduate studies, Brian learnt about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which sparked his passion and he joined the relevant school groups like the One Health Club which created awareness on the same. He founded and led the formation of SNOWMAN ARTLAND, a team of young people skilled in acting, film making, singing, poetry, dancing and article writing. This team would later create content and share with the public.
With time, Brian realized that the campaigns against AMR and the awareness creation would blend well with his skills in film making, graphics design, acting and scriptwriting. This motivated him into his debut in digital content creation on AMR in 2020. Since then, Brian and his team, Snowman Artland have been doing research, developing scripts and filming them. The fully-developed videos are therefore shared on youtube, facebook, instagram and whatsapp with a broader network. The team also does live performances of the same on stage to live audiences in form of skits, poetry and talks to ensure the message gets home in a more palatable way.
Brian enjoys doing this because of his genuine concerns on AMR, his passion about arts and content creation and his relevant skills on the same e.g script writing, cinematography, video editing, sound production, directing and acting.
So far, Brian has directly participated in a number of AMR activities. The following are some of the important AMR activities he has led and/or participated in:
- World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020. He led his team, Snowman Artland, into producing a short film on AMR. The film was awarded the best by the Pfizer foundation in the audio – visual category.
- During the ‘MY TURN’ event 2021 organized by ReAct Africa that took place in Methodist Guest House and Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, Brian led the Snowman Artland team in coming up with and staging an exciting and educative skit on AMR. The skit was awarded the best in the ARTS CATEGORY.
- For the same ‘MY TURN’ event 2021, He oversaw the production of two short films on AMR by his team that were premiered at the physical event in Methodis Guest House and Conference Centre.
- Brian also led his team to produce a film on AMR and food production in 2021.
- On the World Antimicrobial Awareness week (WAAW) 2021, Brian took part in the seven – day awareness activities. Some of the AMR activities he took part in during that week include: a) Talking to the patients in Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, Kenya about AMR b) Distributing the AMR awareness brochures in the streets of Eldoret to the general public c) Sticking the AMR awareness stickers on the public service vehicles in Eldoret town d) Led the production of a short film on AMR that was screened on the county street screens in Eldoret town e) He also directed a play on AMR that was stage on MTRH grounds
- In 2022, Brian and his team, Snowman Artland, held an arts event dubbed ‘ART EXTRAVAGANZA’ in Moi University College of Health Science where the audience (students) were entertained and engaged in AMR talks.
- Brian has been conducting continuous workshops on film production and content cretion around AMR. The beneficiaries of the workshops so far have been the students and the youth in Eldoret town. The workshops equip the trainees with competent skills for top-notch content creation.
- To expand his knowledge on AMR, Brian has been a faithful student of the AMRLEP classes by ReAct Africa.
Fortunately, the above projects and activities have been successful and impactful despite the few challenges here and there. The overall impact of these activities was behavioral change. The public, medical staff and policy makers derived knowledge from the activities and began to change for the better as far as the use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials are concerned.
Each activity was unique and faced different challenges during implementation. However, the following were some of the challenges that cut across most of the activities:
1) Finances. Projects like films require funds to hire filming equipment, feed the crew, transport the crew to the various filming locations, paying for the locations and purchasing/hiring the necessary props . This, however, couldn’t hinder us from producing the films, we improvised and conquered. Whenever we could not afford to hire professional cameras for the job, we used our smartphones to film. Instead of the professional mics, we recorded sound using the normal earphones. We sought for the readily available locations around school where we could just walk and to our thing – no transport costs. On the shooting days, we contributed for our meals and the projects were successful.
2) Busy academic schedules. Most of the crew members being medical students, finding a common time when we are all available was a challenge. To overcome this, we did most of the projects on weekends, early mornings, late nights and on national holidays.
My key take away from these activities is that we only need to be passionate and competent/skillful in whatever we do. Resources will align themselves.
From the activities, I also learnt the following major lessons:
I. Research is a key component in the fight against AMR. The films and other forms of arts that we use to create awareness on AMR are a product of honest research work.
II. Most members of the public won’t read books to understand AMR but would be so glad and excited to consume the same content via other mediums like short films, comics, poetry and theatre plays.
III. AMR is a subject that requires inter-disciplinary partnerships and collaborations to effectively address.
Some of the skills and personal qualities that I gained in the course of the above AMR activities include:
B. Team work
C. Team Organization
F. The spirit of collaboration and partnership
G. Time management
H. Getting work done using limited resources
I. A heart for research
J. Transparency and accountability
To continue and advance my work on AMR, I honestly need support in the following areas:
a) Financial aid. This will go a long way in facilitating the crew’s movement, meals, cinematography equipment, costumes and props.
b) Partnership. I would like to invite any organization, individuals, brands and movements to collaborate with me in any way on this AMR journey.
c) Mentorship. I invite any expert support in terms of research skills, film production, ways to raise funds for projects etc.
d) Crew depth. I also invite all the youths across Africa and even beyond to join me in this journey as actors, concept developers, cinematographers, researchers etc.
e) In-kind donations. I invite any persons, groups, organizations, foundations or brands to donate their premises as filming locations, services, costumes and any other thing that would aid in the achievement of the above projects in the fight against AMR.
I highly recommend all the tertiary students in any program to enroll for the AMRLEP program and engage in the fight against AMR. This journey need all of us and our combined efforts and skills, let’s be innovative, collaborate and sacrifice our comforts to rescue our antibiotics.
Gallery while engaging in AMR
LINKS SUPPORTING AMR ACTIVITIES
The following are the youtube links of some of the AMR projects I’ve worked on so far:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTRshty_Sic&t=303s (STOP THE BUG)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq4gr2UZmcY&t=180s (THE SUPERBUG)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64Lp6d4LpIY (ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE)
For more videos, kind visit our youtube channel via SNOWMAN ARTLAND – YouTube