What do Hillary Clinton, Dmitry Medvedev, Islam Karimov, and 2 Kiva Fellows have in common?

We all took time last week to wish Tajikistan a happy 19th anniversary of Independence — declared on September 9, 1991.

Tajikistan’s strategic location in Central Asia, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes, has helped make it a key partner for many of the world’s leading powers (demonstrated by the diverse group of politicians sending their regards to Tajikistan’s President). 

As the nation balances diplomatic and economic interests with countries such as the US, Russia, China, and Iran, Tajikistan has focused on building its economy and security.  Since the conclusion of a devastating civil war in 1997, Tajikistan has experienced significant economic growth, however it remains one of the poorest former-Soviet countries, with an estimated 60% of the population below the poverty line.

One of the ways to encourage economic growth and stability is through access to capital.  A study on post-conflict Tajikistan found that, “microfinance services have been used to mitigate the peril of economy after civil war,” focused on, “rebuilding and restarting local economies by providing needed financial services for enterprise creation.”

If you would like to join the Independence Day celebration, you can support access to microcredit in Tajikistan by making a loan to an entrepreneur on Kiva, here.

Donald Hart and Sam Kendall are Kiva Fellows serving in Tajikistan — they both enjoyed toasting Tajik independence as dinner guests in a Tajik home.

BONUS VIDEO:  fireworks in front of a national monument and finding oneself in the center of an impromptu dance circle.

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