Maria Teresa Tumbali or ‘Techu’ is a long-time social development advocate and practitioner. She first discovered her passion for poverty alleviation while taking an economics degree at the University of the Philippines (UP), on a scholarship for indigenous Filipinos. Upon completing her university studies, she became a trainer of the government’s agriculture extension workers and farmer leaders. She moved to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) where she worked initially as a loan evaluator, then later as auditor of bank units’ systems, procedures and policies. While with the DBP, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in Business Administration.
Shortly after getting her MBA from UP, she specialized on enterprise development as Director at the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC). In TLRC, an attached agency to the Office of the President of the Philippines, she focused on helping small enterprises grow to generate jobs and income for rural folks, the urban poor, victims of natural calamities and rebel returnees.
Immediately prior to joining Agriterra, Techu was head of Enterprise Development at the UCPB-CIIF Finance and Development Corporation where she formulated and directed the implementation of various credit and capacity-building programs, mostly for cooperatives, including an Islamic microfinance program targeting Muslim women in Mindanao. She was also the Treasurer and Chief Risk Officer of the company.
In addition to her official duties, Techu engages in numerous volunteer works notably advising fledgling coconut farmer cooperatives and raising funds to keep the children of the victims of the Philippine drug war in school. She is also a member of the Ministry of the Word in her Catholic parish. Whenever she gets the chance, Techu joins her husband in his marathon runs. She loves to travel, especially abroad, because she likes to experience different cultures and to interact with people from other nations. She hopes to do yoga more regularly.