The EBRD has integrated gender equality issues into two projects in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic’s 1.3 million-strong capital. These projects involve improving the city's public transport system.
In October 2011 the EBRD approved a US$ 10.1 million sovereign loan for the benefit of the municipal trolleybus company. The loan is co-financed by a US$ 5.5 million investment grant from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. The investment involves improving the city’s public transport system by introducing new trolleybuses and an automated fare system, and providing advice for restructuring the institutional and regulatory framework of public transport in Bishkek.
Gender and public transport
A gender analysis assessed how men and women use public transport and their respective priorities and concerns. Based on findings the public transport company included the purchase of low-floor trolleybuses to allow easier access for passengers with prams and shopping bags. The fare system will accommodate different travel patterns of men and women. Recommendations were also made to strengthen the company’s capacity to consider gender in its design of future investments and in terms of equal opportunities within the company itself.
Gender and water services
Gender concerns were also taken into account in a recent EBRD investment into water infrastructure improvements that will address the problem of unreliable water supply and poor water quality in the capital. A gender analysis revealed how women and men use water differently. For example, women are more concerned with the quality of water while men value permanent water supply over quality. Recommended activities included strengthening the water company’s capacity to take into account gender differences when developing services, increasing women’s employment opportunities in the company, and designing and delivering a gender-differentiated communication strategy.
As a follow-up to these pilots, both funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, the Bank is providing a package of gender advisory services to the municipality of Bishkek. This will help the city address gender considerations in the design and implementation of its investments to make service provision more demand-driven and to promote equal opportunities in the municipality as a workplace.