From Intern to Full-time Employee

Speeches Shim

Thursday, December 30, 2021
Madina Davlatzoda during her internship at the Micro-credit Fund in Bokhtar.

Tuition at Bokhtar State University in the Khatlon region costs 20-year-old Madina Davlatzoda’s father - Majit Davlatov- 5,000 Somoni ($485) a year, the equivalent of seven months of wages. Madina, the youngest of five, is from a rural village in Kushoniyon district. It is common in Southern Tajikistan for parents to keep providing for their daughters after marriage. Madina’s father, the sole breadwinner in the family comprising Madina’s mother and four of her siblings. His task was made more difficult due to COVID-9 lockdowns, which reduced his earning opportunities. 

In July 2021, Madina’s mother, Nuriya Ismoilova, learned from her neighbors that the USAID Agribusiness Competitiveness Activity was recruiting young people to work in the private sector as interns. She immediately shared the information with her daughter, Madina, and encouraged her to apply. Taking her mother’s advice, Madina applied for an internship, as she saw this as a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience while also allowing her to contribute to her family’s income.

“In addition to my education expenses, I also had to pay about 25 Somoni daily ($2.21) for transportation and lunch when I studied at the university. I wanted to help my parents with at least to cover my daily expenses. I was looking for a job, but it is hard to find a job in the place where I live.”

While Madina was excited about the prospect of gaining professional experience, she knew it would help her with future employment opportunities. At first, she was reluctant to apply because she thought a “paid internship” meant that she had to pay.

“When I was told that this was a paid internship, I was scared because I thought that I would have to pay, but when the USAID Agribusiness Competitiveness Activity staff explained that they would pay me, I was shocked! I would be getting paid while learning new skills. When I told my friends about this, everyone was surprised," Madina said. 

In August 2021, Madina was placed at a micro-lender. She was one of eight young people who received two-month internships with the USAID Agribusiness Competitiveness Activity’s partners. In addition to working at micro-credit institutions, interns were placed at dairy and agri-processing firms. By the end of the internship, five of the eight interns, including Madina, received full-time employment offers at their host organizations. 

After months of employment, Madina still can’t believe her good fortune, because now she will not have to immigrate to Russia in search of employment.

“Now I have this job, and I don’t need to leave my country and can stay with my family,” Madina said.

Thanks to her internship and full-time job Madina was able to pay her own tuition.

“When I brought the receipt from the University home, my father shed tears. He was proud of me because I can already pay not only my daily expenses, but I can pay for my education,” said Madina. “This internship opened up new opportunities for me. If not for the USAID internship program, I would probably be in Russia and stay away from my family."  

Due to the success of the internship program, two new cohorts of interns will be recruited in 2022. The USAID Agribusiness Competitiveness Activity also explores working directly with academic institutions to establish linkages between the private sector and academia to make this process more sustainable, and last beyond the USAID intervention.  

Last updated: May 25, 2022

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