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 modelled on this 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 by 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.
Kwita Izina is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. Alongside the naming ceremony, a weeklong celebration of activities is taking place; a Conservation exhibition and highly acclaimed Conversation dialogue forum are hosted in Kigali, a fund- raising dinner in Rubavu and hosted familiarization trips for international Tour Operators and Media comprise an important part of the event activities.