8th KWITA IZINA 2011 CONCEPT NOTE
Kwita Izina 2011 - “Community development for sustained conservation.”
In 2011, Kwita Izina is about consolidating gains made over the past seven years and ensuring continuity of growth in population of the gorillas and tourists as well as continued harmonious community–gorilla coexistence.
Notable achievement are 26% growth in the population of gorillas since the last census in 2003, steady growth of tourists with USD 200 million in revenues in 2010, and conversion of poachers into farmers. The safety and security of the park and its surrounding is also a notable national achievement without which little of this would have been achieved .
This year we seek to accrue the merits of conservation to the communities around our National Parks. We seek better livelihoods for our people achieved through the growth in tourism revenues. This would not be possible without the active protection of our mountain gorillas and conservation of their habitat. We have come a very long way but we have far to go. This year its “Community development for sustained conservation”
Kwita Izina Background
Kwita Izina (literally “Naming”) is a Rwandan traditional ceremony held to welcome a child both into his/her family and into the community. Neighbors, family and friends are gathered in a festive ceremony by the parents bring out the child and reveal what name they have chosen for the child.
For the gorillas in Rwanda, we the Rwandans are their custodians responsible for their well being, their protection and the conservation of their habitat. So every year we invite neighbors and friends of this nation, conservationists and animal enthusiasts to join us in naming new born gorillas and engage the communities around them to ensure these national treasures continue to grow and thrive in their nature-designated habitat .
Kwita Izina Rationale
Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are an integral part of the Virunga ecosystem therefore 7years ago an initiative was developed that would recognize publicly and appreciate not only their rarity but also their unique family oriented existence and their contribution to the communities that surround them and the Rwandan Economy. This initiative is Kwita Izina
Today, we can proudly proclaim it a great success. Kwita Izina among others has contributed towards growth in the population of mountain gorillas. A census that was conducted in the Virunga Massif between March and April, 2010 showed a 26.3% increase of the mountain gorillas over the last seven years. It has also has led to a steady growth of in tourism revenues which in 2010 were USD 200m.
Kwita Izina is also a time to recognize the people that make these successes possible – the community and 180 employees of the Virunga National Park (VNP) working as guides, gorilla groups’ trackers, and anti-poaching teams deployed in 5 protection sectors of the park. In addition, an estimated 800 community members around VNP are involved in day to day VNP management activities.