BFI is excited to announce our official Blog Page for our First Annual RAGBRAI Cycling4Burundi Team! Follow the journey of 6 of BFI’s boldest and baddest, as they brave the roads of Executive Director Julie Marner’s home state of Iowa, on bicycle.

What is RAGBRAI?! Most of us at BFI were wondering, too. It’s not only a 7-day bicycle ride across Iowa, it’s also “the oldest largest and longest multi-day recreational bicycle touring event in the world.” At 428.1 miles – that’s an average of 61.16 milesper day- in the Iowa sun, it’s not for the faint of heart! Who needs World Cup when you have 6 amateur cyclists attempting this feat?


BFI loves connecting Burundi to the US and the US to Burundi. And there are actually a lot of similarities between Burundi and The Corn State! No, really. Did you know that 90% of Burundians rely on agriculture to make a living, while agriculture makes up 85% of Iowa’s land use?! And both locations pride themselves on hospitality and a warm welcome! You’d be hard-pressed to find two other places in the world with as kind and generous people as Burundi and Iowa.

And possibly the biggest connection between the two (other than wondering where the heck they both are on the world map), is Julie Marner and BFI Ambassador, Fabrice Bizimana, who together make up team BiziMarner! Having grown up on a farm near Wellman and Kalona, going to school at St. Ambrose in Davenport, and parents currently residing in Hills, Julie is a proud Iowan. Having grown up in Burundi’s capital city, Bujumbura, and currently studying at Ivy Tech Community College in Noblesville, Indiana, Fabrice is a proud Burundian.

BiziMarner is proud of the work we’re doing in Burundi, and this August will mark Julie’s 7th trip to the country, where BFI has flourishing projects and impact in all 18 provinces of the country.

Why now


This is a great question. Unfortunately, the challenges in Burundi are great and demand immediacy. Burundi’s rankings on the world stage:

  • Population: 11.5 million | Country Size Comparison: The State of Maryland
  • Saddest Country in the World in 2018
  • Last on the Food Security Index in 2017
  • $280: Gross National Income per Capita, or less than a dollar a day
  • 5%: Access to Electricity
  • 46%: Children 0-14
  • 17: Median Country Age
  • 57.5%: Chronic Malnutrition Under the Age of Five

The time to act in Burundi is now.


I want to help BFI improve the situation in Burundi, but I’m just one person. What can I do? We’re glad you asked! BFI has ambitious goals for RAGBRAI:

  1. Introduce 50,000 new people to Burundi and grow our BFI Family
  2. Raise $50,000 to support BFI in Education and Economic Empowerment

Our methodology is three-fold:


Unite together and learn English.

2. JOIN a G5

G5 is an Economic Empowerment Group. (It’s like an Iowa 4-H Club. Julie was in the April-May Flowers 4-H Club growing up!)


By saving money as a group, all members grow in financial literacy and in entrepreneurship.


What will my donation go towards?

  • The first $12,000 converts a 40’ container into a community library in Bujumbura Rural, Burundi.
  • The second $12,000 converts a 40’ container into a community library in Ngozi, Burundi.
  • The other $26,000 pays for 26 of our college students to attend another year in school. One year of college in Burundi = $1,000. BFI BUILDS TOMORROW’S LEADERS!



BFI needs your help to raise $50k to continue working hand-in-hand with the people of Burundi.

Help us meet our $50k goal for RAGBRAI by sharing this Blog, following us on Twitter @BurundiFriends, liking us on Facebook and Instagram, and making a tax-deductible donation here.