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Celebrating Triona Pender – Fighting Poverty & Injustice through Behaviour Change

Image description: Triona Pender on a recent mission to Haiti poses with a giant mango (a present from the community) in her Action Aid T-Shirt.

An essential job as a leader is to celebrate—and elevate—your people.

That’s true if you’re the CEO of a large organisation, or a solopreneur with a community of clients and collaborators.

I coach leaders on a mission for social and environmental impact. In this blog series I celebrate clients making extraordinary contributions to the world.

Today I celebrate Triona Pender – Fighting Poverty & Injustice through Behaviour Change.

Who is Triona Pender?


I first met Triona in Malawi back in 2012 where she was supporting local organisations to tackle poverty & injustice with Irish Charity Trocaire. Ten years on, Triona is a Senior Leader and Head of Programmes at ActionAid Ireland where she practices Feminist Leadership and the highlight of her job is managing the Womens’ Rights Programme across countries in the Global South that aims to end practices like Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation, championing women to uphold their rights and live up to their potential as leaders.

A truth teller, she demands the truth be told about what’s happening in the world and for the world to understand that people in Africa and Asia have their own agency; they're just like you and I, they have the same wants, desires and dreams to look after. Passionate about women and girls having control over their lives and futures, she is committed to empowering and participatory approaches.

Why celebrate her?

She’s a game changer. In partnership with University College London’s Centre for Behaviour Change and colleagues across the programme, Triona has developed, tested and now champions an innovative and ground-breaking behaviour change approach to tackling poverty and inequality. Like many professionals in international development, she admits the approaches used for decades don’t work fast enough, but unlike many others, she and her team took the bold, brave approach to develop and test the behaviour change approach in the Women’s Rights Programme.

This means using a structural approach to help women and men really understand the behaviours that drive gender-based violence and to address them with women, men, boys and other stakeholders within the community as a whole system. The emerging findings are revolutionary and despite the resistance she has had from challenging the status quo, she has led and is championing the approach to be taken up across the sector to finally tackle poverty and inequality in a transformational, sustainable way.

Why reach out to her?

If you share Triona’s passion for ending poverty and inequality in a rights-based, community led, and system-wide transformational way and/or want to hear more about Feminist Leadership, then contact Triona for her Field Guide to a Behaviour Change Approach; she’d be thrilled to support you and garner support for finally ending poverty and injustice.

Want to be challenged, championed and celebrated?

You're a leader on a mission for social or environmental impact. You want to scale your income, influence and impact - sustainably. As your coach, I've got your back. I'll challenge your thinking, champion your ideas and celebrate your next level of success. What are you waiting for? Get in touch for a chat.

Mehalah Beckett is a consultant, coach and trusted advisor passionate about people, the planet and empowering others to inspire positive change. She coaches purpose-driven leaders to impossible goals, hosts Masterminds for hungry entrepreneurs and guides businesses through B-Corp. What can I help you achieve over the next year?

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