In memory of Stephen Turner

  • 31 July 2023

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our highly respected and much loved friend and colleague, Stephen Turner, passed away on Thursday 27 July, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Stephen’s career spanned 45 years as an accomplished rural development specialist and astute consultant.  He was as much at ease in village settings as he was with the most senior of individuals in governments and international agencies.

The southern countries of Africa were not only Stephen’s childhood home but where he lived and worked in his early and mid-career as an academic and senior consultant under the auspices of Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam with several long-term secondments and numerous consultancies. He was a Principal Consultant with Mokoro for over 10 years; a Director since 2015; and served as Chair of Council (the Board of Mokoro) between 2017-2021.  Stephen was highly regarded as a consummate team leader, perceptive evaluator and accomplished report writer. During the latter part of his career, he was much sought after for global and strategic evaluations, building a strong reputation with clients, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In all that he undertook, his approach was deft, wise and humble. In a collection of messages shared with him in early July there are countless recognitions of his kindness, wit, patience and analytical skills, along with many acknowledgements of the professional impact he made on individuals and through his work.

Stephen was a man of Lesotho – a country he loved, lived in and where he met his wife. It was there he undertook his PhD fieldwork (SOAS, 1978) and had his first lecturing role at the National University.  It seems fitting that his last assignment was for Lesotho too, visiting in late January 2023 as he led the Evaluation of the WFP Lesotho Country Strategic Plan on behalf of Mokoro. The leadership baton moved on to others as his illness took more of a grip, but right up to the week before he passed away he was at his desk contributing invaluable insights on the draft report.

As a much-loved friend and colleague, we will miss him hugely. A reflection from one of our number aptly concludes “We mourn the loss, too soon, of such a vibrant fellow traveller”.

Please get in touch with Zoe Driscoll ( if you would like to share any messages or stories you have of Stephen.