Gulnara is 36 years old. She lives in an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) settlement in Bilasuvar with her husband, his school-aged sons and daughter. Gulnara takes care of a milk cow, owned by the family. She makes cheese and sells it in the village and in the local bazaar. Currently the total average monthly income of the family is 260 AZN.
Gulnara requested a loan in the amount of 1000 AZN for purchasing three calves. She will raise them for 5-6 months and sell the grown calves in the summer for a higher price. This will give additional income to the family, which Gulnara plans to use for purchasing needed household goods, which will improve their living conditions.
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.