Introduction / History The lives and the history of the Gourma, or Gorma people does not stand out among the many peoples who inhabit West Africa. Yet unlike many of their neighbors, the Gourma people are in a state of spiritual transformation. They embrace traditional religion, but they will probably either wind up Islamic or Christian in the decades to come.
Where are they located? The Gourma people live in northern Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, and northwestern Nigeria.
What are their lives like? The Gourma people live in mud-brick houses that are formed in circles within their wooden fences. They live close to other people from their clans.
Most of them are farmers who grow millet and other grains. Others, however, are members of certain trades like weaving, basketry and blacksmithing. Gourma people often identify more with their trade than their ethnicity. Some also identify more with their religion than their ethnicity, which will make it difficult to draw people to Christ who identify with either Islam or traditional religion.
What are their beliefs? Some are marginally Muslim, Christian, or follow traditional religion. In Burkina Faso, SIM International has worked with them for many years, and they have seen Gourma fellowships and churches emerge. The people as a whole, however, remain strongly tied to traditional practices including sun worship, and sacrifices to the spirits. Many Gourma people syncretize their traditional religion with Islam, believing in a powerful God who has no time for individuals.
What are their needs? Like other people groups in rural West Africa, the Gourma people would greatly benefit from running potable water and electricity. They also need good schools that will prepare their children for the changes of the 21st century. On a spiritual level, there is a need for them to hear the gospel and have a chance to respond to it.
Prayer Points * Pray for spiritual openness among the Gourma people of Nigeria.
* Pray that their elders and clan leaders will decide to allow their people to follow Jesus Christ.
* Pray for a Disciple-Making movement to flourish among the Gourma people of West Africa.