Summer 2019 Trip With Executive Directer Julie Marner

I would like to begin my summer update with gratitude to BFI Intern, Peilla Ishimwe, to Del Mar Rotary Club, and to Project Concern International, all combining for powerful impact in Burundi.

Financial Savings, Women Empowered

We say “Murakoze Cane!” to BFI’s first official summer intern, Ms. Peilla Ishimwe, for assisting our Women Empowered (WE) savings program this summer for six weeks in the province of Gitega. Peilla studies Women and Gender Studies in my home state of Iowa at Luther College. Her time with BFI assisted the expansion of our WE program now serving over 1,000 youth and women. Peilla, we thank you for being on the ground this summer offering hands-on assistance and leadership to fellow Burundians!

The expansion of the WE program is possible thanks to a Rotary Global Grant of nearly $60,000 with host and sponsor, Del Mar Rotary Club. Our original pilot project serving over 200 individuals comes to a close in October, but the expansion project is now in the phase of providing loans to participants launching small businesses today to empower larger entrepreneurship opportunities tomorrow. While the WE program teaches weekly financial literacy through the approach of group savings, of equal importance is the concept of building up surrounding community through volunteer efforts. Weekly, ideas are brought forth to either assist individuals in high need or to choose a need in the community, such as improving a water source or a town road.

As always, we extend our thanks to our supportive partner, Project Concern International (PCI), whose WE methodology works so beautifully empowering youth, women and entire communities in Burundi.

BFI Intern, Peilla Ishimwe (standing) offers tips of improvement and support to Gitega residents participating in BFI’s savings groups.

Building Sustainability

Much of my summer trip focused on improving and enhancing policies and procedures putting in place a framework of support to our in-country staff and volunteers. Our exponential growth over the past few years in our English Clubs means today we need to manage class size, offer a strong curriculum, support our instructors and offer sustainable solutions for the English learning department. Thousands of students are also in savings groups and those efforts need to be improved upon as well. We know our leaders need more support in Burundi and steps are now in place for improvement.

Launching Toastmasters, building new partnerships, collaborating with local experts and offering training all were key components of Summer Trip, 2019.  BFI donors, our dream of building self-sustaining communities in Burundi is unfolding.

Next Steps

Stay tuned for exciting funding news and developments in education! Our past efforts are launching us forward to new heights. We can’t wait to share the news as we continue putting building blocks in place for our mission. Thank you, BFI donors, your investment in Burundians is a precious gift. Please know your support is unfolding each and every week across Burundi. 

Burundi Friends International

Burundi Friends International (BFI) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We invite you to contact us to volunteer and join in our work to end poverty and create self-sustaining opportunities for Burundi, or donate to support BFI’s mission.