CARD MRIThe Center for Agriculture and Rural Development’s Mutually Reinforcing Institution (CARD MRI) fights poverty in the Philippines. It does this through strategic microfinance programs aimed at helping women living in poverty.

The institution first started helping women with finances for activities on a small scale like education, farming and health. Now, the institute’s main goal is to help women evolve into businesspersons through years of training and education on how to manage loans.

These newly evolved businesswomen called for a new type of assistance. To accommodate, CARD created multiple banking institutions such as CARD Bank, Inc. and CARD SME Bank, Inc.

CARD MRI was founded unofficially in 1986, as CARD, an organization to help social development. It was founded by 15 development practitioners. They came together in December 1986 to assist underdeveloped communities in the Philippines.

The year 1988 marked the official start of CARD’s operations. They began assisting women who owned no land by creating a training-focused community and livelihood assistance program for coconut workers. The organization followed this model for some time. Then it initiated another program for landless women, called the Landless People’s program, in 1990.

It was in 1995 that CARD decided to extend its program to start the Mutually Reinforcing Institution. After receiving the proper licensing in 1997, CARD MRI began assisting landless men and women through their microfinance programs.

In addition to assisting with loan management development and livelihood expenses, CARD MRI also has a Microfinance Plus program that assists people with holistic needs. The program issues micro-insurance for pharmaceutical needs, strategic marketing services and life insurance.

CARD MRI routinely collaborates with other development programs to ensure everyone has fair access to their community development services. These services include health, education, resource mobilization and communication.

Most recently, CARD MRI acquired the Riza Rural Bank. This allowed them to expand their services even further throughout the Philippines. The creation of their Leasing and Finance Corporation was fulfilled in 2013, adding to their growing number of reinforcing institutions.

Julia N. Hettiger

Sources: CARD-MRI, My Philanthropedia, PR News Wire
Photo: Flickr