Population: 20.2 million (2011)
Official language: French
Major religions: Islam, Christianity
IFES movement: Groupes Bibliques Universitaires du Cote D'Ivoire (GBUCI)
Since 2002, Cote D'Ivoire has known serious political and social instability. The recent civil war in 2010-2011 has caused increased poverty and division. Islam has seen strong growth (now more than 50% of the population), but freedom of worship for Christians is still guaranteed.
- 3 large public universities, 200 other higher education institutions
- 22 GBUCI groups, around 500 students in 4 cities
- 7 staff: 2 full-time, 5 part-time volunteers
- graduate ministry has 6 groups, average size 8 people
- largest of students, 40 members
- smallest group, 6 members
After nearly two years of campuses and university residences being closed, student ministry has had to be virtually restarted. However there are stories of hope. In March, when the war was reaching various neighbourhoods of Abidjan and university residences were emptying because of panic and fear, a few GBUCI students on the Cocody campus spent two weeks sharing the gospel with their friends.
Another positive note is the commitment of students to bible study despite the strong influence of prosperity evangelism and other false doctrines.
View from the inside
Sai Mathieu Guei is the General Secretary of the GBUCI. He says, ‘When I was a student, I saw how politicians fought to control a large number of students; sects did the same. What feeds my enthusiasm for student ministry is to see young people emerging from our groups who are whole, who love the word of God and who go on to occupy positions of responsibility in churches and in the workplace. If students are trained solidly in the personal study of God's word, we give them the means to cope with any kind of heresy and influence, however subtle.’
Acts 20:24 is a verse that has inspired Mathieu: ‘However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace’.
- for GBU students to be well-discipled and strong in their faith;
- for funding to construct an office in order to give the movement greater stability;
- for Christians to be agents of healing and reconciliation across the country .