Moving to the East, we take a deep dive into the experiences of Mastercard Foundation Scholar Belle Fille Murorunkwere.
Q: Tell us about your academic life before AIMS.
Belle: I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Rwanda (College of Science and Technology), graduating in 2015. One year later, I applied to AIMS and gained admission for the 2016 academic year.
Q: How would you describe your time at AIMS?
Belle: With a six-month-old baby, I entered AIMS! I was excited to meet talented people from all over Africa for the first time. I learned to work hard, which involved programming and embracing the spirit of Pan-Africanism. My memories of AIMS are many, but one that stands out is when I was sleep-deprived for two days during my first programming assignment.
Q: Tell us about the impact AIMS has had on you.
Belle: I acquired problem-solving skills at AIMS that I use in my everyday work. These skills have helped me to overcome various organisational problems. I learned programming skills and now use R and Python to analyse large datasets in my job. I also learned knowledge sharing and teamwork, which significantly impacted me because I can now share my expertise with colleagues.
Q: What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Belle: One month after graduating from AIMS, I gleaned a job as a Data Analyst for a Data Entry and Analysis firm. I assisted various organisations in analysing their data and providing statistical software training, including R, Python, Stata, and SPSS.
I joined the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) for a three-month internship before being hired as a Senior Statistics Analyst in the Planning and Research Department.
My task included analysing big datasets such as tax declarations and payments and capturing the performance of each tax type compared to the target. This helps me to contribute to target-setting. I am in charge of tax statistics publication covering registration statistics, revenue statistics and human resources statistics. I contribute to Tax expenditure and Tax gap models that show the gaps in taxation. I was recently given the role to contribute to the Payee tracker model, which aims to track how COVID-19 has affected jobs and relevant activities.
In executing my work, I apply skills learnt at AIMS, such as statistical analysis skills, big data analysis skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and mathematical modelling skills.
I am happy to mention that the work I led at RRA paved the way for work placement opportunities for many other AIMS alumni.
I must also add that AIMS played a role in my successful transition because it was thanks to the collaboration of AIMS with RRA that I could secure the paid internship where I represented AIMS well, and RRA is very proud of us.
Q: Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you? How do you plan on addressing it in your work?
Belle: Gender Equality is the most significant SDG for me. I am currently working on a paper with the Rwanda Revenue Authority to demonstrate the contribution of women and men to GDP.
Q: What is your message to current AIMS students and young people across the continent?
Belle: Work hard, and believe in yourself. You are Capable, you are stronger and smarter than you think, and you are braver than you believe!