Salvation Army work to be officially recognized in Burkina Faso

Official opening will take place Aug. 25–27, as Burkina Faso becomes the 130th country in which The Salvation Army has an official ministry.

General André Cox has approved the official recognition of the Army’s work in the west African country of Burkina Faso, making it the 130th country in which The Salvation Army has a legally and officially recognized ministry. The General’s approval came after consultation with The Salvation Army International Management Council, and following a long period of preparation and exploratory work.

In 2005 Army leaders decided that, should the Army ever work in Burkina Faso, it would do so initially under the supervision of the Ghana Territory. A later decision, however, recognized that as Burkina Faso is French-speaking, and French is not one of the languages spoken in Ghana, it would be advantageous for any new work in Burkina Faso to come under the auspices of the Mali Region.

In 2011, Major Eugene Dikalembolovanga, at that time the Regional Officer in Mali, contacted International Headquarters (IHQ) with the news that authorities in Burkina Faso had sent a “national receipt” authorizing The Salvation Army to preach anywhere in the country. Later that year reports indicated that The Salvation Army had received registration in Burkina Faso. However, it was apparent that the local understanding of registration was not fully in line with basic requirements from IHQ, so work continued on developing registration documents that would satisfy the authorities in Burkina Faso and meet the requirements of IHQ. The Salvation Army was operating out of three centers in the country, and was growing at an encouraging pace.

By autumn 2012 leaders felt that, once some outstanding matters relating to the Army’s constitution and funding issues were resolved, a position would be reached to give official recognition to the Army’s presence in Burkina Faso. Such legal matters take considerable time to resolve, but the way has now been cleared for the official recognition to take place.

Captains André and Fatouma Togo, officers from Mali, are currently leading the work in Burkina Faso, including a corps in the capital, Ouagadougou. The captains were trained in the Democratic Republic of Congo Territory, and have served there and in Zimbabwe prior to being appointed to Burkina Faso.

The official opening, under the leadership of Commissioners Benjamin and Grace Mnyampi (International Secretary for Africa, IHQ, and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries), will take place in Ouagadougou Aug. 25–27. The weekend program will include men’s and women’s rallies, a youth concert and an officers’ meeting.

In the years ahead, The Salvation Army hopes to contribute to the stated aims of Burkina Faso, whose motto is “Unity – Progress – Justice.”

Source: International Headquarters

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