Kwita Izina is a time-honoured tradition in which Rwandan families hold a ceremony to name newborn babies. For three decades, before the first official gorilla naming ceremony, Volcanoes National Park rangers and researchers named Rwanda’s mountain gorilla babies as a key part of the on-going programme in monitoring each gorilla in their family and habitat.
The Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, and in collaboration with conservation partners, Private Sector stakeholders and local communities, has achieved remarkable success in protecting and growing the endangered Mountain Gorilla population and its habitat.
Rwanda’s naming ceremony tradition has been adapted as a celebration of this success in the national flagship event known as Kwita Izina.
- Rwanda has achieved remarkable success in protecting and growing the endangered Mountain Gorillapopulation
- To date, two hundredand eighty- one (281) mountain gorilla babies have been named
Kwita Izina was introduced in 2005 to create awareness of conservation efforts and of thanking communities for their on-going valuable support of these initiatives; now the most important annual event on Rwanda’s calendar, it is attended by around thirty thousand community members and three thousand international, regional and local participants each year.
To date, two hundred and eighty- one (281) mountain gorilla babies have been named in the past 14 ceremonies. Kwita Izina is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. Alongside the naming ceremony, a week-long celebration of activities are hosted; the Business on Conservation Conference in collaboration with African Leadership Group and its conservation exhibition in Kigali, a fundraising dinner in Rubavu and hosted familiarization trips for international Tour Operators and Media comprise an important part of the event activities.
The 15th Kwita Izina took place in Kinigi, at the base of the Volcanoes on Friday, September 6, 2019.
Rwanda’s naming ceremony tradition has been adapted as a celebration of this success in the national flagship event known as Kwita Izina
HOW NAMES ARE SELECTED
It is considered an immense honour to be selected to name a mountain gorilla baby. Namers are most often selected based on their contribution to biodiversity and conservation anywhere in the world and/or if they have a connection to Rwanda.
The Rwanda Development Board formally invites each honoured guest to name a mountain gorilla baby.
HOW NAMES ARE CHOSEN
The Rwanda conservation team chooses names for each mountain gorilla baby according to how the baby behaves and the circumstances under which it is born. To keep this tradition, three Kinyarwanda names, from which you can choose one, along with their meanings, will be, suggested to you, prior to the ceremony.
Furthermore, we invite you to visit the baby gorilla you are naming, a day prior or a day after the Naming Ceremony, so that you have the opportunity to meet this baby and its family.
During this ‘meet and greet’ we would like to take the opportunity to film your visit and interview you afterwards about your experience visiting the mountain gorilla family.
Film clips will be used for the promotion of conservation and sustainable tourism through RDB’s media channels. It is widely recognized as a unique privilege to be invited to name a mountain gorilla baby.