Natiga H. is a 36-year-old woman who sells milk and yogurt to local people and neighbors. Mainly she keeps a cow for her family and sells the rest of the milk. No one in her family has a job so selling milk and poultry sometimes brings some money to their family. Their main source of income is an Internally Displaced People benefit, which is about $70 USD a month. This amount is not enough to cover their basic family needs. Natiga wants to focus more on selling dairy products, which is why she applied for the loan of $800 USD to purchase one milk cow.
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.