s we welcome a new year, PUNCH Media Foundation (PMF) is thrilled to share the remarkable memories from our engagements over the past year. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our board of trustees, exceptional team members, and valued partners for their unwavering support. Their dedication has been instrumental in keeping us steadfast in our mission—to cultivate a just, inclusive, and thriving civic space through our various engagements.
In 2023, under the PUNCH HealthWise project, we published over 3,600 stories focusing on Sustainable Development Goals 1-6 and 13. Beyond raising awareness about public health and developmental concerns in Nigeria, the stories have been instrumental in fostering accountability among government entities and relevant stakeholders. The compelling stories have notably held these groups responsible for their commitments and obligations.
In August 2023, after an extensive report published under the PUNCH HealthWise project, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State approved the settlement of a 19-month allowance owed to para-athletes by the state.
Similarly, in August also, following another report from PUNCH HealthWise, the Ogun State Government relocated a homeless woman and her newborn. Notably, in December, a two-part investigative report commissioned under the PUNCH HealthWise project received the prestigious Rufkatu Danjuma Prize for Public Health Reporting at the 31st Nigeria Media Merit Award held in Lagos. These are part of the many remarkable impact stories recorded in 2023.
PMF started the year setting the agenda for a successful 2023 general elections by organising the Election-Day Reporting Programme (EDREP) on Thursday, 16th February. The event, which attracted journalists from no fewer than 10 media houses across print, digital, and broadcast media, including Nigerian Tribune, Punch Newspapers, and Channels Television, allowed participants to glean rich insights from media veterans like Alhaji Yusuf Alli of The Nation Newspapers, Dr Titilayo Osuagwu of the University of Port Harcourt, and Mr Lanre Arogundade of International Press Centre (IPC) thus enriching their reportage of the 2023 general elections.
In March, the Training Directorate of PMF organised soft skills training for about 60 select staff of Punch Nigeria Limited across divisions. During the training, two insightful sessions on emotional intelligence and good work ethics were facilitated by the Head of Training Directorate, PMF, Mr Dele Aina, and Principal Partner/CEO, Solubss Professional Services Ltd, Siji Oluwunmi. The training was held at the corporate headquarters of PUNCH in Magboro, Ogun State.
In July, PMF engaged 28 media experts and academics to train no fewer than 28 journalists at the two-week PUNCH Immersion Training Programme (PITP) for new journalists of PUNCH Newspapers. The training designed by PMF for Punch Nigeria Limited aims to build the capacity of PUNCH journalists, positioning them as change agents and effective watchdogs in the media space through impactful storytelling.
Similarly, the Training Directorate of PMF, under its External Facing Programmes, facilitated a training – Masterclass on Strategic Communication, MASCOM – at Oyo State for 60 health professionals from different government health facilities registered with the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency, OYSHIA.
Development Advocacy Programmes
In May, PMF marked 2023 World Press Freedom Day by hosting a Twitter Spaces tagged, Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Nigeria’s Democratic Space, Barriers and Way Forward. The event, which provided the platform for journalists, activists, and policymakers, among others, to discuss press freedom as a critical driver for the promotion of all other human rights, featured the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, SAN, represented by Arase Agharese; the Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio 91.7, Toun Okewale Sonaiya; and the Editor-in-Chief, Cross River Watch, Agba Jalingo, among other prominent speakers; over 4K persons tuned in for the event.
Two PUNCH Webinar Series – Plastic Pollution in Nigeria: Innovations and Solutions for a Sustainable Future and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria: The What, Why, and Way Forward– were held in the year.
These provided us the opportunity to mark select United Nations (UN) international days that resonate with our focus while creating awareness of and tackling issues that underpin the sustainable development goals. Subsequently, 11 outstanding speakers were engaged for these development-stimulating virtual events, which attracted over 300 participants on Zoom, where the events were primarily hosted. Additionally, the livestream of these webinars on Facebook generated over 10K reach and about 1K engagement.
PMF upheld its core values by actively collaborating with various stakeholders in the media and development sectors to advance its mission. In March, PMF partnered with PUNCH Videos to produce a short video commemorating the 2023 International Women’s Day. The campaign theme, #EmbraceEquity, highlighted the voices of female staff from Punch Nigeria Limited, advocating for true inclusion and equitable action for women in Nigeria and globally.
Also, in March, PMF collaborated with Sparknews under the Towards Equality alliance program. This initiative aimed to amplify success stories related to gender equality. PMF published seven stories through the HealthWise vertical, amplifying narratives advocating gender equality.
A Breast Cancer Awareness Programme for the staff of Punch Nigeria Limited was organised in October. This initiative was dedicated to marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month and aimed to raise awareness about breast cancer while promoting proactive approaches to prevention among the employees.
Other productive collaborations with several partners throughout 2023 included collaborations with The Conversation Africa, LiveWell Initiative, Wild Africa Fund, and the Ogun State Ministry of Health. These collaborations involved joint initiatives, campaigns, and projects aimed at advancing common goals and showcasing PMF’s commitment to addressing critical societal issues, including gender equality, health awareness, and developmental goals. By partnering with various organisations and leveraging their expertise and resources, PMF effectively amplified its impact and reached a broader audience, aligning with its core values and goals.
PUNCH's 50th Anniversary Celebrations
As 2023 commemorated the 50th anniversary of PUNCH‘s establishment, PMF actively participated in several celebratory events held towards the year’s end. Among these events was the PUNCH Community Health Awareness Programme (P-CHARP), where over 300 beneficiaries received complimentary medical screenings, medications, and the distribution of insecticide-treated nets to certain aged women, along with baby packs for nursing mothers. Additionally, PMF contributed to the launch of a commemorative book titled “Our PUNCH Years,” showcasing impactful work experiences shared by 38 former employees of PUNCH. Notably, this book was edited by Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, the Executive Director of Media Career Development Network.
In a year fraught with distinctive national and global challenges, PMF’s unwavering dedication, bolstered by the steadfast support of its team, board of trustees, and partners, led to significant community impacts through diverse programmes and initiatives. These achievements serve as a testament to a more promising and productive outlook for 2024.