Naming a newly born baby has been part of Rwandan culture and tradition for centuries.
Given the remarkable efforts by the Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, and in collaboration with various conservation partners and local communities , to actively protect the Mountain Gorillas and their habitat, the old naming century’s tradition was modeled on these species to get the national brand known as “Kwita Izina”.
Names attributed to the gorillas play a significant role in the on-going programme of monitoring each individual gorilla in their families and habitat. Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla.
For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the naming of baby gorillas was carried out with little awareness amidst the public by the rangers and researchers that closely monitor these unique animals on a daily basis.
Kwita Izina has been attended by thousands of international, regional and local participants over the recent years. The Government of Rwanda and conservation partners have donated substantial resources to gorilla conservation and continue to do so. Each year new born gorilla babies are celebrated in an exciting event at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains .
Tourism that focuses on natural environments is a large and growing part of the tourism industry in Rwanda. While it can contribute in a positive manner to socio-economic development and environmental protection, uncontrolled tourism growth can also cause environmental degradation, destruction of fragile ecosystems, and social and cultural conflict, undermining the basis of tourism. Therefore, considering that natural forests constitute 8.7% of the national territory, conservation continues to play a crucial role in the country’s development.
Eleventh Annual Kwita Izina 2015
On 5th September, 2015, the Rwanda Development Board will host the eleventh Kwita Izina, naming 24 baby gorillas, the newest arrivals born after last year’s ceremony.
This year’s Kwita Izina will take place as we embark on carrying out another general census of the gorilla population in the Virunga Massif following the one that was carried out in 2010. In 2010, the gorilla population registered a 26,3% growth in a period of 7 years from 2003.
The theme for Kwita Izina 2015 is conserving now and for the future !
Since 2007, tourism has been the leading sector in foreign exchange earnings for the country. The objective is to grow tourism revenues by 25% per annum as projected in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2.
“Through Kwita Izina, we will not only celebrate the birth of 24 baby gorillas, but will also acknowledge the impact that local communities have had on sustained conservation. Together, we have worked with rangers, guides, conservation groups and local communities to take proactive steps to restore and enhance the habitat of not only the gorillas but of other wild life as well,” Ambassador Karitanyi said.
The Chairman of the East African Business Council, Dennis Karera, said; “The Government of Rwanda has created a secure and enabling environment for businesses to thrive. With the East Africa Single Tourism Visa, there is easy movement of tourists and so it is up to us as the private sector to take advantage of all these opportunities.
Other activities planned for the week include a Conservation Forum, a photo exhibition, a business exhibition, a Familiarisation Trip and Regional Tourism Business to Business Forum, launch of a Community Project and the Community Igitaramo. Kwita Izina awards will be launched to recognize local conservationists for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the wildlife conservation and tourism.
Later this year, Rwanda under the Trans boundary Collaboration will carry out a Mountain Gorilla census that will determine the current mountain gorilla population.