Valeria Starkova ’24

Fixa Rwanda, Rwanda

This summer, I interned remotely at Fixa Rwanda Inc. Fixa connects Africa’s informal workers with formal job opportunities in the construction industry. It is estimated that the informal sector comprises more than 80% of Africa’s workforce, making it the continent’s largest source of employment and economic activity. This equates to more than 300 million temporary workers who are unregistered, unregulated and untaxed. Fixa offers a solution by providing a diverse range of services that give informal workers a secure career identity, a stable income and social protection. Fixa has an ambitious mission of providing 100 million jobs to the informal sector all around the globe by 2030. The company was founded by Tafara Makaza ’22 and Jansen Durham ’20. The platform has already connected more than 17,000 jobs and registered more than 800 workers since its launch in Rwanda in January 2022.

In my first week, I completed the onboarding process, which included learning about the organization’s culture and ethos, meeting the team, familiarizing myself with the product and setting some short- and long-term goals. The enthusiasm and commitment of all the members of the team made it a real pleasure to work with them. The company held two mandatory meetings every week: on Mondays we reviewed our progress from the previous week and set specific goals for the upcoming week; and on Fridays we gave each other a presentation of our week’s work.

For the major part of this internship, I was involved in the implementation of a large project with a fellow intern from Rwanda. Together, we designed and developed a web-based payroll management system. Since I had the opportunity to follow our project’s lifecycle from beginning to end, I was able to gain a wide perspective of how companies create new products. Throughout this process, the entire team came together and proposed ideas and suggestions to guide us toward improving our product. The teamwork that went into developing something from scratch was a fun and rewarding learning process for me.

Overall, working at Fixa was a very valuable and fruitful experience. I gained a better understanding of some of my long-term career objectives as well as how they relate to my personal values. Working on a large-scale project, I was able to develop my skills as a web developer. Furthermore, I’m excited that I’ve been offered the chance to continue my work at Fixa during my time off from Williams. I feel motivated by my work at Fixa because I am able to become part of something that is making a real difference in the world by connecting youth with decent work and stable income.

My sincerest gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Case, as well as to the Williams ’68 Center for Career Exploration, for affording me this wonderful opportunity. I would like to extend my appreciation to my amazing supervisors Tafara and Jansen, both of whom were a wonderful source of support and guidance throughout this internship.