Kwita Izina is a time-honored tradition in which Rwandan families hold a ceremony to name newborn babies. For three decades, prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the Park Rangers and Researchers named Rwanda’s baby gorillas as a key part of the on-going programme in monitoring each individual gorilla in their family and habitat.
The Government of Rwanda, through Rwanda Development Board and in collaboration with conservation partners, private sector stakeholders and local communities, has achieved remarkably in protecting and growing the endangered Mountain Gorilla population and its habitat. Rwanda’s naming ceremony tradition was adapted as a celebrating of this success in the national flagship event known as ‘Kwita Izina’. Kwita Izina was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating greater awareness of conservation efforts and of thanking communities for their on-going and valuable support of these initiatives; now the most important annual event on Rwanda’s calendar, it is attended by approximately thirty thousand community members and two to three thousand international, regional and local participants each year.
To date, two hundred and thirty eight (238) mountain gorilla babies have been named in the twelve ceremonies since the first official Kwita Izina in 2005. Kwita Izina is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. Alongside the naming ceremony, a weeklong celebration of activities are hosted; a fund raising gala dinner, followed by a conservation and tourism exhibition and the highly acclaimed Conversation on Conservation dialogue forum. Hosted familiarization trips for international Tour Operators and Media are an important part of the event activities.
The 13th Kwita Izina will be staged on Friday 1st September 2017, launching Rwanda’s activities during World Tourism Month.