Editorial: More Kwita Izina-like events needed for other tourist attractions

Today all roads lead to Kinigi on the foot of the Volcanos, home to the famed mountain gorillas. It will be yet another edition of the annual Kwita Izina, a baby gorilla naming ceremony.

Getting an opportunity to name a baby gorilla is an exclusive honour and celebrities and other prominent personalities are all seeking that rare occasion. And this year it is not different; the 23 baby gorillas born since the last Kwita Izina will have new god parents, both local and international.


Tourism revenues have been growing every year and it is only logical for communities living around the parks to benefit directly through revenue sharing. Last year the share that goes to park communities was increased from 5% to 10% and it is making a great difference.


Ever since the sharing initiative began in 2005, over 400 projects have been completed. Schools and hospitals have been constructed, and water supply systems as well as other development programmes initiated.


But most importantly, in a bid to improve the livelihood of park communities, former poachers have been employed as guides and porters and others given jobs in the many hospitality facilities that are cropping up.

With the ever-growing appeal of Kwita Izina, it is time the event is taken to another level, the Conversation on Conservation which is part of the event notwithstanding, other activities, especially those that generate revenues, should be put into the equation.

Other national parks and tourist attractions should also have their own similar activities that could draw crowds and increase visibility, something Kwita Izina has done to Volcanos National Park, and ideas are not in short supply.

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