Vafa is 36 years old and married with four sons. She is an internally displayed person who lives in Bilasuvar, an IDP settlement. Vafa has bred cattle and cows for the last 13 years. Her husband is a builder and his job is not permanent.
Vafa usually buys small calves, which she raises and fattens for five to six months and then resells for a more profitable price in the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is 180 AZN. This business is only one source of financial income in her family. Meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma. Zeynab also keeps milk cows for personal use and for selling to neighbors.
Vafa wants to expand her business and improve the living conditions of her family. She has applied for a 1700 AZN loan to purchase three cattle, one milk cow and fodder. This will be her second loan and she has good credit history.
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.