Education is the most important gift Filyaz M. can give their three dear children. They believe this because they are responsible parents who work very hard at farming so their children can finish school, an opportunity they never had because they were so poor. Filyaz has worked in agriculture since her wedding, and with the unconditional help of her husband, also buys and sells sheep to meet the family’s other needs. Despite this, she now finds herself with more expenses than expected, and would like a loan to increase the size of her flock. Filyaz and her family are hoping for a favorable response to their request.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.