Kwita Izina: Nexus of Women’s respect and Youth Bond to Greening Rwanda

It was on September 7th, 2018 in Musanze District, when Rwanda celebrated the nature productivity and express the satisfaction of this ecological fact by organizing a ceremony of naming 23 baby gorillas in an annual of Kwita Izina event.

Historically in Rwanda, the act of Kwita Izina or give a name to a baby comes eight days after the birth of the baby and it is an opportunity to celebrate the work of the woman who carries it nine months and to introduce a baby to children who surround the mother as a sign of having more babies in the family.

That picture of children that are surrounding the mother with the curiosity of seeing the face of the new baby which is joining them is also a symbol of the united family from which the new born will learn to cooperate with the rest of the community.

At Kwita Izina ceremony in our families, children have the opportunity to give a name of their preference but the Mom and Dad have already chosen the name of their children.

So, why Dad and Mon don’t choose one from those given by children? This is the secret of the family and every family has its own naming policy. That family secret guide the newborn throughout all stages of her/his life and he/she, depending on he/she has learnt from the family secret, will able to live in harmony with her/his generation and that is where some children show the characteristics of taking responsibility than others irrespective the age ahead them.

Why give children the opportunity to give their preference names to newborns?

It is here that the baby gains his/her generation and it is to this generation that parents must begin to think:  how “our child will live with this generation? What should be our part as parents to prepare the future of our children? Our baby? Here is the joint work of parents and extended family to prepare the future of their children.

Parents are the ones who teach the children at their early age how they will live throughout their generations/ Photo: Internet

But on the other side: What should we think about the names of these Baby Namers?  If it is possible we should know the meaning of all the names that the namers have chosen and for what that name stands for?” Through this work we can discovers the inside meaning of the names given by that Generation that carries the mirror of our babies.

So let’s talk about “Gorillas Naming” Kwita Izina in Rwanda.

The Kwita Izina ceremony is a Rwandan creativity towards the protection of nature and biodiversity. It is not only the latter but also a way of encouraging the Rwandan people to contribute their active role in the protection of the environment so that the future generations will be able to live in harmony with the protected ecosystem.

For nature lovers surely, the Rwanda Development Board, through its tourism department, organizes this type of events not to make it pass like that but with an agenda to change people’s behavior towards the protection of the environment.

Here again we can ask ourselves: What should be the role of women, Men and Young people in the protection of the environment? Who will benefit more as a result of the protection of the environment? Of course it is “our children.”

Even if we can continue to asking these questions, what is important is that the protection of the environment today will benefit the generation of tomorrow. So it is our children who will also have to take responsibility for the generation that will follow and so on.

The image to be obtained in Kwita Izina’s ceremony of 2018 can be analyzed in different angles and at the end of the day you can be able to know the meaning of the names chosen for Baby Gorillas.

For Madam Graca Machel who has chosen the name ‘Urugori’ for a baby Gorilla, she wants to recognize the role of women in the formation of the family and why women shall receive the respect they deserve.

Graca Machel is the widow of South African President Nelson Mandela and Mozambican President Samora Machel.

When you hear her speech delivered at the Kwita Izina ceremony in Rwanda this year, you will realize well that she knows what she says about women’s rights and women’s role in the protection and conservation of nature.

The name “Urugori” she chose means the “maternity crown” in Rwanda where mothers are so valued and being crowned shows the consideration of how mothers are so important and so it is merit to wear this Alice band of maternity.

“Urugori means “crown”.” Graca Machel said

She further added that “Crowning a baby gorilla and her mother is giving a respect to all the mothers on the continent and the World.”

She congratulated the role of women in nature conservation.

For young people, the protection of the environment must be obligatory among their colleagues because, young people say, “Any act of protection of nature will have a positive impact on the socio-economic lifecycle of the country.”

Hakizimana David from Karuganda Technical School, in northern Rwanda, for him and other students of his age, “the protection of the environment and the conservation of nature and its biodiversity attract tourists and contribute foreign currencies to the economy of the country.”

This young boy adds “Naming Baby Gorillas attracts tourists in our area, and since the area is a tourism destination we have many infrastructures including hotels and roads…

“So the children of my age should know that protecting the environment contributes to the socio-economic development in our families and will continue to benefit their future and generation to come.”

Community benefit from Nature conservation

Following a Cabinet decision in 2017, the funds available to support the revenue share program increased from 5% to 10% of all tourism revenues in 2018.

In her welcome address to the 2018 Gorillas Naming Ceremony, the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Bord, Belise Kariza, said the programmes funded by the Revenue Share Programme are about improving people’s lives.

Through this mechanism, RDB supports projects that benefit development and welfare of communities living around the national parks and involve those communities in conservation activities, including being park rangers and guides of the parks.

The scheme has helped build schools, hospitals, community centres and other development projects.

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