SEATTLE — Kyrgyzstan, formally the Kyrgyz Republic, became independent in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a newly independent state, the landlocked Central Asian country struggles with issues of widespread poverty, cultural divisions and weak infrastructure. These are five development projects in Kyrgyzstan that seek to increase safety, productivity and quality of life in the country.
Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project
The now $58.5 million project recently received additional funding in 2017 and should have positive effects for an additional 100,000 people in Kyrgyzstan. The project will improve or replace the water supply infrastructure of participating villages as well as revamp sanitation facilities in clinics and elementary schools.
Project implementers not only rely on infrastructure changes to spark improvements in sanitation, but also education programs in universities as well as training programs for sanitation facility constructors and designers. Additionally, some households will be eligible for incentive grants that will be provided to families whose sanitation facilities meet an established hygienic standard.
The project was implemented in 2017 and will continue to assist people in remote areas of Kyrgyzstan until 2025.
Electricity Supply Accountability and Reliability Improvement Project
Approved in July 2014, the Electricity Supply Accountability and Reliability Improvement Project aims to enhance the presence and performance of the electricity supply in select project areas of Kyrgyzstan.
According to Senior Energy Specialist Ani Balabanyan, the electric supply will not hold up for long in its current state. In fact, the poor condition of the power sector infrastructure could lead to severe power shortages without the help of significant development projects in Kyrgyzstan in the next few years.
However, the $25.47 million project could achieve fewer instances of electricity loss and less customer dissatisfaction by 2019 through three project components. The first component involves improving infrastructure throughout the country by allocating more resources to the particularly structureless areas of Kyrgyzstan. Without proper infrastructure, an electricity supply cannot be supported. The second component aims to enhance the quality of services and improve customer satisfaction. The third component involves institutional changes that will improve customer support and business processes through changes such as implementing a 24/7 call center.
Urban Development Project
The Urban Development Project aims to improve municipal services, energy efficiency and seismic resilience of the Kyrgyzstan infrastructure by 2020 through improving solid waste collection and creating energy-efficient alternatives for city lighting and operations. Project implementers believe that through improved municipal practices and urban planning, the issues of poverty in the cities of Kyrgyzstan can be addressed.
According to Kremena Ionkova, the World Bank’s Senior Urban Development Specialist, the Urban Development Project should benefit 59,000 Kyrgyzstan citizens. The project could increase safety through infrastructure changes by increasing the availability of heating in schools and improving the lighting in public spaces. The World Bank aims to implement the project in particularly highly populated and low-income areas.
Heat Supply and Development Project
The objective of the 2017 Heat Supply Improvement Project for Kyrgyzstan is to improve the efficiency and quality of the District Heating system in Bishkeky, Kyrgyzstan in selected project areas by the closing date in 2023. The project goal is to improve access to adequate heating throughout Kyrgyzstan, especially in the brutally cold winter months.
For a portion of the 83 percent of residents that are not connected to the district heating system, the project implementers will introduce clean heating stoves to replace the outdated and inefficient fuel-fired heating stoves that are currently owned by 14,000 houses. While many houses that use these stoves are low-income, the average user of fuel-fired heating spends 45 percent more money for fuel.
Lastly, the project will focus on introducing energy-efficient alternatives and solutions for public buildings that utilize the most heat.
Kyrgyzstan Integrated Dairy Productivity Improvement Project
This is the most unique of the development projects in Kyrgyzstan. With a modest budget of $5 million, the Integrated Dairy Productivity Improvement Project aims to increase dairy animal productivity and milk quality on farms in the Issyk-Kul region.
The project will increase the production and quality of dairy products. Additionally, the project should increase the possibility of trade between Kyrgyzstan and other countries. The increased production, quality and trading will mean more jobs for people in agriculture as well as increased incomes.
The project should prompt positive changes for 12,000 household farms in the country. Given that agriculture makes up 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP, this number should continue to increase, as well as making small improvements to agriculture during implementation.
The diversity of these five development projects in Kyrgyzstan shows that there are numerous ways to aid a country’s development. Hopefully in 2018, these projects will show progress toward their end objectives.
– Danielle Poindexter