Yegana is a 45-year-old woman who is married with two sons. She is an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) and lives with her family in an IDP Settlement. She is a farmer, raising seasonal fruits and vegetables. Her 20 years of experience in this field make her a very skilled farmer. Raising crops takes a lot of strength and working in the open air, for which Yegana requires a lot of help from her son.
Yegana usually sells her crop in the central bazaar. Locally, people eat fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy. In fact, many national dishes are made of vegetables, like pilau and dolma. Azerbaijani families serve fresh fruits at every meal, and fruits are also often used to make fresh punch.
Yegana's monthly income is 200 AZN, and she needs additional capital to invest in seed and fertilizer. This will allow her to improve the quality of her produce and increase her monthly turnover. For this purpose she applied for 1000 AZN.
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.