Every last quarter for the past 12 years, all our conservation partners gather in Musanze at the foot of the Volcanoes Mountains for Kwita Izina. They are joined by thousands of local and international supporters for a day of learning and celebration of a magnificent gorilla species.
The question that lingers in my mind however is, are people really conversant with the role that Kwita Izina plays in influencing a certain impact in conservation for the sake of future generations?
Kwita Izina, even though derived from an age-old tradition in Rwanda, maintains the same role of community inclusiveness and only in these contemporary times do we derive its significance by also telling a story of saving an endangered species.
In this epilogue, however, I would like to discuss the future of conservation based on the methodical role Kwita Izina plays in securing a stable ecosystem in the near future by connecting people with conservation, creating a supporting network and leveraging on conservation expertise.
Vastly celebrated names in the conservation industry like Mary Anne McDonald, a professional wildlife photographer, have been to Rwanda a couple of times to capture some of the bestselling images of the gorillas. McDonald was radiantly one of the namers during last year’s Kwita Izina where she proudly named a baby of the Cyiri family “Ntamupaka” translated to mean “no borders” because, in her opinion, gorillas have no borders; they are everybody’s treasure. McDonald returned to name this baby after photographing her at seven days old.
The world is quickly, even though not fast enough, recognising and appreciating the conservation efforts of Rwanda, and we continuously appreciate the likes of Sir David Attenborough, who first visited the gorillas over 40 years ago, in spreading the message forward on the importance of protecting our wildlife.
Over the years, the event has evolved from just a one-day ceremony to weeklong activities. What a futuristic idea of inviting consumers and traders to an expo on conservation and inviting guest speakers from around the globe to discuss the outlook of protecting biodiversity! To top it all, the event encourages all conservation enthusiasts to contribute to a number of conservation projects in Rwanda.
What this does is that, first, it brings together people with a passion about wildlife and gives them the opportunity to share knowledge and make peers from around the world. Part of the group of environmentalists that convene in Rwanda are experts in the field with extraordinary backgrounds in research and conservation, while another group is composed of philanthropists who will definitely partake in impacting their knowledge in Rwanda.
The dynamism of such an event is that Rwanda will have to create a network of conservationists who are keen on collaboration for the sake of Rwanda’s ecosystem.
The irony of the matter is that not just any country can be able to create a supporting network in promoting such a noble cause. The reason Rwanda stands out is the political will and enunciation of the concept and the general roadmap on conservation toward sustainable development. This clarity remains at the back of the mind of every individual who participates in Kwita Izina.
Every year, therefore, Kwita Izina shall continue to be a leading light in conservation in Rwanda and regionally, expanding its influence through the renowned names that carry the success of the country’s conservation and everyone will naturally want to join in and identify with this noble cause.
The writer is the executive in charge of public relations and content development at Strategic Great Lakes-Rwanda.