Western Fulani in Niger

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Fulani in Western Niger are sometimes called "Gorgaabe", meaning "People of the west". They are descendants of clans that originated either in the Fuuta Toro (northern Senegal) or in Macina (Mali). They made their way by different routes across West Africa and in different time periods to Niger. The first arrivals settled in the Niger River Valley, and then gradually the arriving groups spread to a network of dry riverbeds east of the Niger River called "Dallols": the Dallol Bosso, Dallol Foga, and Dallol Maouri.

At one time these families also belonged to the larger social hierarchy of the Tukolor Kingdom or of the Malian Empire, thus there are vestiges of various castes among these groups. Some are nobles, some religious teachers, some come from the class of tradesmen and diplomats, and some are herders, hunters or blacksmiths. Some also are descendants of the Muslim warriors who established the Sokoto Empire in the early 1800s.

Now the majority of them have settled in and around towns and cities in the Departments of Niamey and Dosso. Some have become farmers, although owning cattle is still a key part of their ethnic identity. The religion of the majority of the Fulani, Islam, is also a key part of their ethnic identity. It has been said that it is not possible to be Christian and Fulani at the same time.

Fulani culture places a high value on self-control and on a certain stoicism which does not allow any demonstration of weakness. This emphasis on modesty is seen in the tradition that no Fulani should ever be seen eating. When one Fulani wants to express friendship towards another, he will lend him a cow. The person receiving the cow takes care of it until it has a calf, and then he returns it to the owner. Taking care of the borrowed cow is so important that better care should be taken of it than of one's own cows.

Fulfulde, the language spoken by the Fulani, is spoken across Africa, from Senegal to Djibouti. The vocabulary and pronunciation of the language changes so much that it becomes incomprehensible when used between speakers of different regions. Western Niger Fulfulde has been is a dialect with strategic importance for Bible translation.

Where Are they Located?

They live in the western part of Niger. The majority of them have settled in and around towns and cities in the Departments of Niamey and Dosso.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Still following the way of life of their forefathers, they are considered the purest of all Fulani. Their customs have changed little in hundreds of years, and they desire to maintain their traditional culture.

Long-horned cattle are not only prized possessions but are, in fact, a means of survival for the Western Fulani of Niger. Their lives revolve around and are dedicated to their herds. The more cattle a man owns, the more respect he is given. An advanced knowledge of cattle herding is an education desired by all. Their staple food, milk, is obtained from their herds.

A Western Fulani family consists of a father, his sons, their wives and children, and the herds. With each new season they journey-always for the needs of the herds. A man's responsibilities lie in herding, political affairs, treating illness, and planning the next migration. A woman milks the cows and prepares butter and cheese. She is allowed to sell any excess dairy products at the market. She also makes clothing and blankets, gathers firewood, and prepares the daily meals, which usually consist of a millet-based porridge.

The younger Fulani boys help their older brothers with herding. When they reach the age of twelve, they enter sukaabe, or "young adulthood." At this time, they learn the rules of respect, courtesy, and justice, as the Western Fulani are an independent people with a strong moral code.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are overwhelmingly Muslim; however, their traditional pre-Islamic rituals and beliefs are still followed today. Only vaguely are they linked with Islam.

The Western Fulani are expected to follow a code of high moral behavior. Those who refuse to do so are disowned. Their traditional nomadic heritage extols virtues such as honesty, generosity, and dignity. To be reserved is also a virtue; thus, they are shy and modest in public. A mother does not show affection to her infant son. In fact, she never even calls her firstborn by his name, all throughout his life.

Animal sacrifices play an important role in the ritual celebrations of fatherhood, deaths, marriages, and other formal ceremonial occasions, such as the worso. The worso is an annual celebration held within family groups just before the rainy season. Among other things, firstborn sons are honored, and marriages are acknowledged. The men arrive on camels and are dressed in their finest attire. Women arrive on donkeys and show off their wedding ceremonial gifts and their most prized belongings.

What Are Their Needs?

Many are also facing a time of famine.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Fulani, Western in Niger.

* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send African Christians to demonstrate the love of Christ.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies who want to work among them.
* Ask God to raise up prayer warriors who will faithfully intercede for them.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Western Fulani.

Profile Source:   Anonymous   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Additional Info
Fulani profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-02-27
Global Prayer Digest: 2018-02-18
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-10-20
Link Up Africa
People Name General Fulani, Western
People Name in Country Fulani, Western
Natural Name Western Fulani
Pronunciation foo-LAH-nee
Population this Country 1,204,000
Population all Countries 2,515,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 24
Alternate Names Bororo; Bororro; Dallol; Gorgaabe; Mbororo; Peul
People ID 15365
ROP3 Code 110780
Country Niger
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Tillabéri region: west and central; Dosso region: Burkina Faso border east to Dogondoutchi area; group in Niamey.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Niger
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Tillabéri region: west and central; Dosso region: Burkina Faso border east to Dogondoutchi area; group in Niamey..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Fulani, Western in Niger
Primary Language Fulfulde, Western Niger (1,204,000 speakers)
Language Code fuh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Fulfulde, Western Niger (1,204,000 speakers)
Language Code fuh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Fulfulde, Western Niger

Primary Language:  Fulfulde, Western Niger

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2003-2005)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2017-2018)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Fulfulde, Western Niger
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Audio Recordings StoryRunners Oral Bible Stories
Film / Video Boubacar Testimony
Film / Video Boubacar Testimony (EngDub)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Ibrahim's Testimony
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Fulfulde, Western Niger
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Fulfulde Burkina and Fulfulde Western Niger New Testament
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible Text (Scripture Earth)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.02 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.98 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
25.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
14.0 %
30.0 %
Roman Catholic
31.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2021  GoWestAfrica  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Anonymous   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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