Waama, Yoabou in Benin


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Waama live mostly in the Atakora province of Benin; however, another smaller group live across the border in northern Togo in the Sansanne-Mango region. They live in the same vicinity as the Gangam and Gourmanchema and speak Waama, a Niger-Congo language. Very little specific detail is known about the Waama; however, they are closely related to the neighboring Natemba. These two groups share similarities in both language and culture.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Like many other tribes in Benin, the Waama are subsistence farmers. They grow corn, yams, cassava, pineapples, bananas, and peanuts for personal consumption. Coffee, cocoa, and cotton are mainly for export. Agricultural methods are generally quite basic. They get additional food through hunting, fishing, and the gathering of nuts and wild fruits.

All tribes in the area keep cattle for their hides and manure, but almost never for milk. They are also used in sacrifices and as marriage payments. They keep other livestock such as sheep, goats, dogs, and chickens. Waama men engage in hunting, clearing the land, and tending the livestock. The women gather forest produce and handle domestic duties such as cooking and caring for children. Both sexes help in farm work and fishing.

Trade is highly developed and regular markets are practically universal among the tribes in Benin. Women do most of the local market trading, while the men travel greater distances to larger, regional markets. Among the items traded are salt, onions, smoked or dried meat, rice, oil, and nuts.

Most Waama live in compact villages. They are grouped in circular walled compounds that usually house an extended family. Individual huts are round, having walls of mud or sun-dried brick and cone-shaped thatched roofs. Each local community has a ritual headman, who obtains his position by being the eldest male of the lineage that first occupied the village land. He is responsible for maintaining good relations with the earth and ensuring the welfare of his people. He stops feuding and warfare, since they believe the spilling of blood on the earth contaminates the land.

Waama marriages are arranged by the heads of two extended families while the girl is still an infant. Although there is no bride-price, there are other demands. Usually, the man must work on the girl's father's land from the time of the betrothal until the wedding and for a time thereafter. When the bride begins living with the groom, the groom will donate gifts to the girl's family. A Waama husband can have multiple wives, but each wife has her own hut where she raises her children. However, the first wife enjoys a superior status as chief wife.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Waama in Benin continue to follow their traditional, ethnic beliefs and practices. They worship many gods and call upon the spirits in times of trouble. The Waama consult soothsayers and diviners during times of sickness, poor harvest or other disasters. Family compounds have shrines for ancestral spirits. It is there that an appointed elder makes sacrifices for the family.


What Are Their Needs?

The majority of the Waama have not had an opportunity to hear the gospel clearly presented. Evangelistic materials, missions works, and intercession are all desperately needed to see this group reached with the light of the gospel. There is a Christian presence among them, but it is incomplete.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call missionaries who will be willing to invest their lives in the Waama of Benin.

Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Waama towards the gospel message.

Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Waama who will boldly proclaim the gospel.

Pray for strong local churches that plant other churches among the Waama.


Scripture Prayers for the Waama, Yoabou in Benin.


References

https://www.facebook.com/MissionEnablersAfrica/posts/the-waama-yoabu-tribe-the-waama-tribe-live-mostly-in-the-atakora-province-of-ben/2056903307782173/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_UmkF8SnQo

https://worldbibles.org/language_detail/eng/wwa/Waama


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Waama, Yoabou
People Name in Country Waama, Yoabou
Alternate Names Waama; Yoabu
Population this Country 133,000
Population all Countries 157,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 16045
ROP3 Code 110597
ROP25 Code 308647
ROP25 Name Waama
Country Benin
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Atakora department: Natitingou, Toucountouna, Mouande communes; Pehonko commune, at least 20 villages; Cotonou, Parakou area.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Benin
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Atakora department: Natitingou, Toucountouna, Mouande communes; Pehonko commune, at least 20 villages; Cotonou, Parakou area..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 2.00 %)
10.00 %
Ethnic Religions
60.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
30.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Waama (133,000 speakers)
Language Code wwa   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Waama (133,000 speakers)
Language Code wwa   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Waama
Photo Source Matt & Sarah Murdock 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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