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Courtenay Cabot Venton
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Courtenay Cabot Venton is an international development economist. By demonstrating the relative returns of social and environmental interventions, she creates an evidence base for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to solving poverty worldwide.

Her most recent research provides economic evidence that disrupts the dominant paradigm of top-down, expert-led development and aid. Courtenay’s findings suggest that low-input, low-cost programs to seed social entrepreneurs succeed in lifting families out of poverty with far-reaching benefits for the wider community. She is using her findings as the foundation for a new approach to how we help individuals lift themselves and their communities out of poverty and into a better world for all.

Courtenay is an economist, with a Masters in environmental policy from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. As an independent consultant, she provides research and advice to donors and NGOs on the economics of development. She is also Director of International Programs for One Hen, a non-profit that empowers youth to become social entrepreneurs.

Courtenay can be reached on

Entries by Courtenay Cabot Venton

Climate Change and Children: A Call for Action

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 3:02 PM

This post was co-authored with the Children in a Changing Climate coalition


The UN recently issued their latest report on climate change, and the findings are grim, suggesting that "climate change risks destabilizing human society". US Secretary...

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Dare to Prepare: Taking Disaster Risk Seriously

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 2:57 PM

In May of last year, the United Nations issued a stark warning: Economic losses from disasters are "out of control." According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, "So far this century, direct losses from disasters are in the range of $2.5 trillion. This is unacceptable when...

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Meseret's Story

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 11:30 AM


I meet Meseret in a town in Ethiopia called Nazareth. We are sitting in a small room, rain falling on the tin roof. As she speaks, I know that her story is one that will stay with me forever.

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Growing Democracy: Lessons From Ghana

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 8:56 PM

Co-authored by Katie Smith Milway, writer on sustainable development.

Ghana's road to democracy has been paved by investments in pro-business policies and access to microcredit, which has helped to build a generation of business owners and broaden the middle class.

At a time when several African nations (Egypt, Libya and...

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Chasing Misery or Unleashing Hope? Transforming Poverty in Africa

(12) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 2:32 PM

Recent research in Ethiopia suggests that a very simple and extremely low-cost approach to development is transforming poverty. And the approach represents a paradigm shift in the way that we deliver aid, by changing our view of the poor from helpless victims to agents of positive change.

The international aid...

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