Kwita Izina, Rwanda Development Board

UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance

Second Runner-up: Kwita Izina, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda

Kwita Izina is an annual baby gorilla naming ceremony aimed to raise awareness on the conservation of mountain gorillas, promote Rwanda, and empower local communities of the Volcanoes National Park. Since 2005, Kwita Izina has grown from being a one day event to a week-long celebration with programmes that support conservation and community development. Besides naming 173 baby gorillas and having a global impact on international media, Kwita Izina involves specialized tours, a community day to launch community projects, a community party showing local traditions, a conservation conference, and an exhibition of green energy initiatives. The event has helped increase the participation of 45 community based organizations in conservation programmes, improve wildlife data management, and provide additional resources for communities that actively participate in park conservation. The initiative has also developed partnerships with the private sector, which provides one third of Kwita Izina budget.