Stories tagged with Komak Credit Union

Feb 2, 2013 AZ Azerbaijan
Dimitri Zakharov | KF20 | Azerbaijan

It’s been 2 weeks since my arrival in Azerbaijan for my Kiva Fellowship and every day I grow more confused. 
 
Serving in Azerbaijan is a very different experience from the typical Kiva Fellow placement.  The scenes here of the capital, Baku, aren’t the stereotypical poverty we envision in Africa or south Asia.  By World Bank figures, Azerbaijan is wealthier than more than 54% of the world’s countries; amongst Kiva’s portfolio countries (which include the U.S., Israel, and Mexico... Continue Reading >>
Nov 11, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

Gamarjoba! (“Hello!” in Georgian)

I’m currently in Tbilisi, Georgia renewing my Azerbaijani visa and traveling a bit around the region. Hence the “gamarjoba” instead of what’s becoming a regular “salamu alaykum”.

During training for the Kiva Fellowship I heard it mentioned numerous times that taxi drivers in Central Asia (but specifically in Azerbaijan) were the least demanded loans on Kiva. Their loans took the longest to get funded and expired most often. I was not surprised. After all, “Transportation”, being at the end of the Sector list on Kiva also competes...

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Nov 11, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

Salam aleych! (the cool way of greeting somebody in Azerbaijan)

On November 8th AqroInvest received new capital from an existing partner, PlaNIS, and an entirely new partnership with Microenterprise. AqroInvest is one of Kiva’s two Field Partners in Azerbaijan. It is important to note that microfinance institutions, such as AqroInvest, depend on new partners and capital for growth. That Monday also happened to be my first day at AqroInvest. At the end of the day the entire staff and I celebrated with champagne and cake, making toasts to AqroInvest’s bright future, and my anticipated...

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Aug 8, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Yelena Shuster, KF 11, Azerbaijan

For some, traveling abroad is an exotic means of recreation, for others it is a learning experience. I cannot find statistics reciting the numbers and nationalities of people who go abroad each year, but from my experience as a backpacker and Kiva fellow, most people who travel (either for leisure, student exchange or professional duties) come from one of the 32 developed countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan,...

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Aug 8, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

by Nina Nelan, KF12 Azerbaijan

As my plane approached Baku’s airport, I had some mixed feelings about where I’d be living for the next 3 months.  It was a world away from Colorado, which I’d left 20 hours earlier.  All was well, however, as soon as I saw the friendly face of Ilkin, who works for the Baku branch of AqroInvest Credit Union, one of the microfinance institutions (MFIs) I will be working with during my time in Azerbaijan.  He swept me out of the airport and delivered me safely to the flat of the outgoing Kiva Fellow, Yelena, who has been working at my other...

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Aug 8, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Yelena Shuster, KF 11, Azerbaijan

Being a loan officer has its perilous moments. The scary Caucasian shepherd dogs that guard client’s homes and threaten to bite you and the difficult to find addresses of remote properties that one must search for in the unrelenting summer heat are obstacles. Then there are the numerous unforeseen hazards one encounters trying to go the extra mile as a loan officer…

Last week one of our loan officers at Komak went to meet a new client, a tomato farmer from the Absheron region. To get a better picture of the borrower...

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Jul 7, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Yelena Shuster, KF 11, Azerbaijan

I’d like to tell you about language in Azerbaijan especially since there have been some questions among Kiva lenders and translation volunteers as to why Komak is posting profiles in Russian using Latin letters instead of Cyrillic.

You see, since the start of the 20th century the Azeri alphabet has metamorphosed 3 times…

  • Prior to 1929 Azeri was written in Perso-Arabic script.
  • 1929–1938 A Latin alphabet was used (although it was different...
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Jul 7, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Yelena Shuster, KF 11, Azerbaijan

Last Tuesday I traveled from Baku to Fuzuli, a rural region in southwestern Azerbaijan, to meet two clients for borrower verification. The drive took us 4 hours (and 4 more to return), on a hot winding road that was paved but a few years ago. We drove past the Iranian border, a simple gate with vegetation behind it and no soldiers. Like custom dictates, we stopped for tea along the way at one of the road stops.

I was excited to go to Fuzuli. Named after a renowned Azeri poet of the 15th century, Fuzuli today is one of the “...

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Jun 6, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

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Yelena Shuster is a Kiva Fellow serving with Komak Credit Union in Azerbaijan. Support Komak borrowers and join our team Friends of Komak...

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Jun 6, 2010 AZ Azerbaijan

By Yelena Shuster, K11, Azerbaijan

I’d like to tell you a little bit about Komak, the MFI (microfinance institution), where I am serving my Kiva fellowship.  Komak, which means “help” in Azerbaijani, has offices in four regions: Baku, Absheron, Khachmas and Fizuli. The central office, where I have spent most of my time is located in Baku, the capital city. Here I work with five other people: Aydin, the director; Emin, information technology; Aliabbas, accounting; Elnur, bookkeeping; and Afitab, the Kiva coordinator. With over 1,600 current active members,...

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