Reaching the Fulani of Niger

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As part of AIM’s call to reach the unreached across Africa, we are partnering with Serving in Mission (SIM) to send a joint team to the Fulani peoples of Niger.

Who are The Fulani?

The Fulani are a people that live throughout the Sahel. They are a cattle herding agrarian people who stretch from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east. In Niger the Fulani make up approximately 10% of the population, numbering about 1.5 million. They are spread across the country along the southern one-fifth of Niger which is arable land. North of these lands, the Sahara desert occupies the remaining four-fifths of Niger, with some oasis towns and trade routes going through the desert. Due to rebel activity in recent years, the north of Niger is considered a ‘no-go zone’ to foreigners, yet we are able to enter southern Niger as mission workers.

“…the majority of Fulani have never heard the good news that Jesus died for them…”

The Fulani are a predominantly Muslim people group. They first came in contact with Islam as early as the 1500s, but the majority did not adopt Islam until the 1800s. During this period Amaadu Lobbo Bari, a Muslim Fulani leader, grew in influence and established the Massina Empire, a theocratic Muslim Fulani state throughout the Inner Niger Delta region and extending to both the ancient Muslim centers of Djenné and Timbuktu. Today the Fulani are only nominally linked to Islam, with animal sacrifices instead playing an important role in the ritual celebrations of fatherhood, deaths, marriages, and other formal ceremonial occasions.

A scattered people

Over the past 40 years there have been a small number of workers reaching out to the Fulani, leading to a small number of believers scattered across the country. Despite this, they remain classified as an unreached people group as the majority of Fulani have never heard the good news that Jesus died for them, and even fewer have heard this news in Fulfulde, their own language. That’s why we’re sending a Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) team to live amongst them. The team will be living in a rural setting and we hope to use an interest in agriculture and life on the land as a way of building relationships with the Fulani, both as a way of demonstrating improved land management and as a bridge to the gospel. We hope to help the Fulani come to know a God who loves them and wants to bless them and make their land fruitful again.

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There are so many ways you can be a part of reaching Africa's unreached peoples with the good news of Jesus Christ.