Posted on September 14th, 2008
P20 is all that it took Jaime Aristotle Alip to start the Center of Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) that helped many housewives to set up small livelihood projects, save extra income and even get insurance in case of death. The P20 then was just enough to buy bond papers wherein with the use of an old Remington typewriter, the application for foreign grant was typed. Thanks to two Japanese micro-funding agencies companies who gave the $20,000 grant, CARD was able to launch its economic assistance programs for landless peasants in San Pablo and Bay, Laguna in 1988.
The initial grant was used to train some 200 landless rural workers on project management and organizational development. They were then divided into groups and provided them with loans ranging from P500 to P5,000. Although this initial batch was a mix of men and women, but they eventually shifted to women, because they were better in the managing of finances.
20 years later, the venture that started with P20 and an old Remington typewriter is now a P4.0BÂ microfinance company and a one-stop shop which offers loans, banking services and life insurance.Â Because of the success of the CARD MRI, an organization comprising an NGO, a rural bank, a micro-insurance company and a training institute, has been named one of the two Ramon Magsaysay awardees for public service this year.
CARD MRI was cited for its â€œsuccessful adaptation of microfinance in the Philippines, providing self-sustaining and comprehensive services for half a million poor women and their familiesâ€. The award was named after President Ramon Magsaysay who died in a plane crash in 1957, the awards are given out every year to an individual or an organization in Asia that have shown the late leaderâ€™s sense of selfless service.
Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, the founding chair and managing director of CARD MRI is a graduate of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Philippines in Los BaÃ±os, Laguna (UPLB) and holds a masterâ€™s degree in Agricultural Marketing and doctorate in Organizational Development. He quits Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in 1987 to focus on CARD MRI.
CARD MRIâ€™s main office is in San Pablo, Laguna but their grants have reached women as far Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. Serving more than P2.3 billion outstanding loans in 47 provinces and boasts of P4 billion in assets.