Gourma in Benin





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The eastern sixth of Burkina Faso is an area generally characterized by heat and dryness. This is home for the Gourmancheba, Burkina Fasos third largest ethnic group. Major Gourmancheba populations are also found in Niger and Togo, and smaller groups in Benin. The physical climate of the region poses great challenges. The lack of adequate water is a stark reality for most Gourmancheba. Some aid organizations have drilled small, deep, bore wells in a few villages. But some women must walk as much as 5 kilometers for water from a dam or a small dug well, sources which are known to dry up before the rainy season begins. In general, the southern regions do not receive enough rainfall to grow surplus crops.

Education poses another great challenge for the Gourmancheba. They have one of the lowest enrollment rates in Burkina Faso. Yet there is hope as almost one half of the primary schools in the area have opened since 1980. Furthermore, there has been a growing interest in learning to read and write in their own language, largely through the efforts of a professor from the University of Ouagadougou. There is a great interest in using literacy to help meet practical needs. Publications in their own language include health pamphlets and a monthly newspaper.

SIM International has been at work in the area since 1930. They have a history of combining evangelization with physical ministries like health care. They have translated the New Testament, along with some commentaries. Literacy is taught in each church, where the publications are also sold. Old Testament translation is being done by nationals, with UBS supervision. Today there are over 40,000 Christians and churches of many denominations. The people as a whole, however, remain strongly tied to traditional practices including sun worship, and sacrifices to the spirits. Many Gourmancheba syncretize their traditional religion with Islam, believing in a powerful God who has no time for individuals.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Gourma
People Name in Country Gourma
Population in Benin 54,000
World Population 1,346,000
Countries 5
Progress Scale 2.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bigulimanceba, Gourmance, Gourmancheba, Gourmantche, Gulmachema, Migulimancema
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Gur
People Name General Gourma
Ethnic Code NAB56a
People ID 12004
Country Benin
Region West and Central Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country North, Atakora Province, primarly Tanguieta and Kerou subprefectures; some villages in Materi and Cobly subprefectures; Borgou Province, Banikoara and Karimama subprefectures.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Gourmanchema (54,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Gourmanchema 54,000
For Primary Language: Gourmanchema

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1947-1988)
New Testament Yes   (1958-1990)
Complete Bible Yes   (2005)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Gourmanchema Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
12.00 %
Ethnic Religions
50.00 %
0.00 %
38.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
8.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
2.0 %
15.0 %
Roman Catholic
75.0 %
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.