With the United Nations’ declaration of 2026 as the Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists, the Livestock and Climate Initiative of the CGIAR is supporting a series of consultations in the coming years with pastoralist youth across the world. Youth can play a key role in strengthening and adapting pastoralism to the challenges being faced including climate change, yet are struggling to find their place in decision making processes and to have their voices heard.
In partnership with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network and Procasur, ILRI supported the first in the series of consultations held at Lukenya University in Makueni County, Kenya from the 27-29 September 2022, which brought together 28 young pastoralists living and working in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Over three days the youth participants shared their knowledge and skills, learned from each other and listened to experts discuss climate change mitigation strategies and adaptations. The consultation was also a space to develop friendships and networks, providing the youth with a stronger voice moving forward. The pinnacle of the event was developing a statement on the future of pastoralism in the face of climate change, addressing the challenges and defining opportunities for future action.
I sat down with three of the pastoralists at the consultation to hear their life stories, the hurdles and challenges that they have overcome and what they hope to achieve for themselves and their communities.
Photo Courtesy of Joshua Laizer
Joshua Laizer (33), lives in the northern highlands of the Ngorongoro District in Tanzania with his wife and two children. Growing up in a Maasai pastoralist community, he tended to livestock at a young age as eldest of 19 children in his family, developing rich knowledge of the land and climate, the seasons and how to optimize production of livestock through grazing movements
‘I have always been interested in maintaining my elders’ tradition of being a pastoralist and improving it to cope with time changes and climate needs,’ he says.
Joshua holds a BSc and MSc in animal sciences from the University of Sokoine Tanzania and Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel respectively. He works with his fellow pastoralists sharing experiences and improving rangeland management and livestock breeds. In addition to owning and operating a breeding farm, he is the general secretary of the youth centered LOSOTWA Forum, which brings together young Maasai pastoralists living in the district to discuss and address community challenges. He is a member of the Tanzania Pastoralist Community Forum working to lobby and review policies on pastoralism and rangelands.
Meet the other pastoralists on CGIAR.org.
Banner Photo: Youth pastoralists share their life stories on the first day of the consultation. Photo courtesy of CSAYN