Fulbe in Sierra Leone

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Fulbe
Country: Sierra Leone
10/40 Window: No
Population: 305,000
World Population: 5,268,500
Primary Language: Pular
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Fulani / Fulbe
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Along the plateaus of Fouta Djallon, there are grassy plains and fields of millet. Fulani herders settled in this region over 200 years ago and have since spread throughout western Africa. The Fulbe are a sub-group of this vast Fulani people group. They are semi-nomadic and raise crops as well as livestock. The high plateaus serve as part-time pastures for their herds.

The Fulbe are a large people group located in the western African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Senegal. A small population resides in Guinea Bissau.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The livelihood of the Fulbe is primarily based on farming and shepherding. Gathering forest produce, hunting, fishing, and trading are also part of their daily lives. Staple crops include millet, rice, and peanuts. Cattle herds, along with sheep and goats, are the primary livestock. The cattle are not the usual Fulani "humped" breed, but a native Fouta Djallon breed that is resistant to the disease-carrying tsetse fly.

Herding cattle is usually a male activity; however, the women milk and take care of the cattle. Women also care for the poultry and small livestock, as well as cultivate the gardens. Women often carry containers of milk and cheese to sell or trade in local markets.

Daughters remain with their mothers until they marry. However, as soon as a son reaches puberty, he leaves the family compound and lives alone in a nearby compound, usually with some cattle. This new compound becomes the home of the son and his future wife.

The first marriage of a man is usually arranged by the man's father. The man performs a bride-service of helping the girl's father with his livestock. Men usually marry in their early twenties. Polygyny (the practice of having more than one wife) is practiced, up to the Muslim limit of four wives. There is one chief wife, however, who has authority over the other wives.

Children belong to "age-sets" until they marry. An age-set is grouped at three or four year intervals, with every child born in those years belonging to that set. The children in an age-set go to school together and may participate in community labor or may help someone in their set with bride-service. Each age-set has a leader, a deputy, and a judge.

Although Fulbe villages are scattered, each village has a central court and a mosque. Houses belonging to the settled Fulbe are typically round with mud walls and thatched roofs. Each hut has an encircling verandah. The nomadic Fulbe live in open, beehive-shaped huts without walls or verandahs. Each hut is surrounded by a cattle corral. Each village has a headman who handles village affairs and answers to a paramount chief.

Although Fulbe villages are scattered, each village has a central court and a mosque.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Fulbe are almost completely Muslim, though they add pre-Islamic spirit worship to their Islamic beliefs. They believe that Allah is the only God and that Mohammed is his prophet. Some villages have Islamic schools for the children.

The Fulbe are expected to follow a code of high moral behavior known as Pulaaku. Pulaaku extols virtues such as kindness, bravery, patience, tolerance, perseverance, honesty, diligence, generosity, and dignity. To be reserved is part of being dignified; 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.

What Are Their Needs?

Efforts to evangelize these people have had meager results. Fulbe are very devoted to their Islamic religion and see it as a fulfillment of their needs. To win these people to Christ, there will need to be faithful intercessors who will not stop until the Fulbe are making their own disciples.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send dedicated full-time missionaries to share the gospel with the Fulbe of Sierra Leone.
* Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film among the Fulbe throughout Africa.
* Pray that God will give the small number of Fulbe believers boldness to start a movement to Christ within their community.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing church among the Fulbe for the glory of his name.

Text Source:   Joshua Project