Daniel Obloni Kweitsu - from RNTC to winning the 2022 GLF Africa Storytelling Contest

Daniel Obloni Kweitsu, a 2019 RNTC alumnus, won the 2022 Global Landscape Forum Africa Storytelling Contest with his short video Little Drops of Climate Action. This is his story. 

Daniel Obloni Kweitsu - RNTC alumnus

We at RNTC believe in social change and use media training and capacity strengthening to achieve it. Over more than 50 years, our alumni network has grown into a community of over 6 000 people coming from more than 50 countries all around the world. We are incredibly proud to be part of their journeys, and always very excited and grateful when they share with us pieces of the great work they keep on doing.  

Daniel Obloni Kweitsu is one of them. He is an RNTC alumnus who completed the Media Campaigns for Development and Social Change course (now called Media Campaigns for Social Change and Advocacy) at RNTC in 2019. This year he won the 1st Prize Award at the 2022 Global Landscape Forum (GLF) Africa Storytelling Contest. His short video, Little Drops of Climate Action, won out of over more than 250 submissions received. That is why we sat with Daniel and had a chat. Not only did we learn more about the work he is doing, but we also walked down memory lane and looked back at Daniel's RNTC experience.  

Congratulations Daniel for winning this prestigious award. Could you tell us more about it and the movie you made?  

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. The Forum takes a holistic approach to creating sustainable landscapes that are productive, prosperous, equitable and resilient and considers five cohesive themes of food and livelihoods, landscape restoration, rights, finance and measuring progress. It is led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in collaboration with its co-founders UNEP and the World Bank and Charter Members. The 2022 Global Landscape Forum (GLF) held digitally on 15 September, brought together thousands of frontline leaders, grassroots actors, farmers’ cooperatives, scientists, innovators, youth and women’s groups, and financiers to answer the crucial question: How can we build an equitable and resilient food future? The event illustrated what it takes to achieve a holistic, sustainable food systems transition to a future of nutrition security, equity, and sovereignty in Africa.  

The 2022 GLF Africa Storytelling Contest jointly organized by the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) during the conference, aimed at using stories to discover new narratives around people, cultures, and landscapes of the African continent, as told by young storytellers from across the continent. Out of over 250 submissions from other creatives across Africa, my short video titled “Little Drops of Climate Action” won the 1st Prize Award. The video tells the story of Eunice and her amazing work raising tree seedlings for landscape restoration activities in Ghana. Her example shows how we can all take little actions toward a greater social good at the individual level. 

We are proud to call you an RNTC alumnus. What training did you attend? How did the training at RNTC add to your existing skills?  

In 2019, I was part of the training course on Producing Media for Development and Social Change. The 3-week intensive training covered storytelling approaches, audience mapping techniques, script writing, video production and directing as well as basic audio and sound editing. In the third week of the training, we were required as part of the course to apply our knowledge gained in peer-reviewed media production. I must admit it was an exciting process of learning for me. My RNTC training strengthened both my creative and audiovisual storytelling skills. I was also exposed positively to emerging trends in social change campaigns and how impactful storytelling can catalyse the process of change.  

What were the major takeaways from the Media Campaigns for Development and Social Change course for you?  

Some important takeaways from the course were knowing and understanding the target audience's behaviour and crafting stories that touch the hearts and minds of change makers. I also appreciated to great depths, the relevance of time in causing behaviour change. The fundamental idea that change is a process and not a sudden event has influenced how I perceive solutions to development and social challenges. One thing I will never forget from my training at RNTC is the transformative power of storytelling and its influence on making informed decisions. 

What opportunities opened up for you after you had completed your training at RNTC? 

After my training at RNTC, I had the opportunity to work as the Communications Specialist for the West Africa Regional Office of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization where I produced short videos to promote our work on bamboo development. I was also privileged to work remotely for Makmende Media (Netherlands) and ICON Films in the UK on some short video production projects. I am presently working with Jhpiego Corporation (Ghana) as a Communications Specialist where my work is contributing to saving the lives of women and children and improving quality healthcare for communities. 

What would you want to say about the networking opportunity the training provides? Are you still in contact with your fellow peers? 

I think the idea of having a good mix of course participants from different countries is very important especially as it provides opportunities to learn from other cultures and broaden one’s worldview of issues. I met and made friends with fellows from India, the UK, Pakistan, Indonesia, Belgium, Morocco, Nigeria and other countries during my training at RNTC. The diversity was great and it was a fun time learning and working collaboratively with fellow creatives. Our cohort has a WhatsApp group where we are in constant touch with one another. We often share ideas and support where possible, on projects or social campaigns that our colleagues are championing.  

What is your fondest memory from the course? 

I still remember the last week of the course we were tasked as part of the course requirements to produce some media content using the practical knowledge and skills we had acquired throughout the training. It was a challenging task, but also an exciting time working with professional actors on those projects. The selfless support and guidance from the course instructors, actors and staff of RNTC made it possible for us to achieve our production goals. The experience was just fantastic. 

In three words, how would you describe your overall experience at RNTC? 

My words would be: practical; knowledge-filled; and exciting.  

What would you tell somebody who is thinking about applying for a course at RNTC? 

RNTC provides a safe space for creativity to thrive. Studying at RNTC will strengthen and sharpen your creative skills, as well as empower you with knowledge and relevant skills that will enhance your career. 

What advice would you like to give to our current and future participants? 

For current participants, I will encourage them to explore their creative imaginations and take advantage of the many opportunities RNTC provides to improve their skills. For future participants, I am confident to share that applying to study at RNTC would be one of the best career decisions they would make.