Kwiza Izina: Kagame commends citizens’ cooperation towards environmental conservation efforts
President Paul Kagame has hailed citizens’ collaboration to scale up environmental conservation efforts.
He made the appreciation today as he attended the 15th Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony (Kwita Izina 2019) held in the Kinigi sector, Musanze district at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park. where 25 baby gorillas were named.
The event attracted thousands of Rwandans and prominent personalities from different countries across the world that turned up for the ceremony.
The baby gorillas named today were born between 1st July 2018 and 11th May 2019.
Naomi Campbell: English supermodel, actress, and businesswoman, Tony Adams, an English football legend who played for Arsenal and England and American RnB singer Ne-Yo and Tony Adams are among prominent figures that graced the event.
Named baby gorillas are from The 25 baby gorillas named are members of the Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Igisha, Isimbi, Muhoza, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Susa, Pablo, Kuryama, Mafunzo, Kureba, Musirikali and Ntambara families.
A baby gorilla named today includes Ingando, Isanzure, Igihango, Sura u Rwanda, Irembo, Inkoramutima, Kira, Indongozi, Umukuru, Intego, uhiriwe, Nimugwire mu Rwanda among others.
So far 281 baby gorillas were named since the ceremony launched in 2005. As he addressed participants, Kagame said: “I thank citizens for good characters and protecting environment which is beneficial to all of us. Sometimes, people don’t recognize it, hence missing possible advantages,” he said.
In 2005, the Government of Rwanda introduced Tourism Revenue Sharing Programme.
This program aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda by ensuring that 10 percent of all park revenues are given back to the communities.
Over Rwf 5.2 billion has been distributed by Rwanda Development Board to 647 community-based projects since 2005.
These projects have availed clean drinking water, milk, health centers, classrooms and housing to members of the communities living around the three national parks; Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park, and Volcanoes National Park.
As he addressed participants, Kagame said: “I thank citizens for good characters and protecting environment beneficial to all of us. Sometimes, people don’t recognize it, hence missing possible advantages,” he said.
Reminiscing on today’s agenda ‘Kwita Izina’, Kagame said he was lucky to name twin baby gorillas 15 years ago and kept a close eye on their lives.
“As you have heard, I was a responsible parent. I took care of them; paid school fees and did my best to speak to them. We have the internet in this area. So we talk to each other. One of these babies is called Byishimo. He grew into a mature and powerful family member. He is now a happy Silverback,” he illustrated.
President Kagame emphasized that “The great milestone achieved as mentioned by the CEO of RDB (Clare Akamanzi) could not be possible without collaboration with citizens and making sure they benefit from it. The collaboration dating back many years ago was beneficial to the country, gorillas and tourists satisfied to live here, satisfied with security resulting from that fruitful collaboration.”
Kwita Izina is a time-honored tradition in which Rwandan families hold a ceremony to name a newborn baby. For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, park rangers and researchers named Rwanda’s mountain gorilla babies as part of monitoring each gorilla in their family and habitat.
The Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board and in collaboration with conservation partners, the private sector and local communities, has achieved remarkable success in protecting and growing the endangered mountain gorilla population and conserving its habitat.
Rwanda’s traditional naming ceremony was adapted to celebrate this success as a national flagship event now known as Kwita Izina.
As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010.
The Virunga Massif is comprised of Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire region had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.