Durna R. is 56, married, and lives with her five dear children in her own house in a small settlement built for refugee families in the Bilasuvar district. She fled with her big family to Bilasuvar in 1993. Durna is an entrepreneurial woman and together with her husband, they did their best for many years to give comfort and an education to their beloved children, but it was difficult to cover all their needs. Durna decided to start her cattle-breeding business in 2003. Now the monthly income of the family is around 500 AZN. Her three sons help her in this business. With this loan of 1200 AZN she bought three cows. This is her first loan with AqroInvest and Kiva and she promises to make the payments on time since she would like to take out more loans in the future. She is planning to enlarge her cattle-breeding business and increase her number of cows to twelve.
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.