By Shruti Kapoor
Mewat district in Haryana, India, has remained undeveloped for a long time. The footsteps of change have set in with the women of village institutions in Mewat forming block-level sangathans (women’s collectives). They include members of School Management Committee (SMC), Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC), and panchayats (village councils). The aim of sangathans is to speed up the development process in the local communities. They take up the responsibility to improve existing governance situation with the collective efforts of its members.
In the short span of four months, the sangathans in Mewat have made few pertinent services available to villagers. For instance, sangathan women have revived a VHSNC and utilized its funds to undertake activities related to sanitation in the village. Other sangathan women were instrumental in getting roads constructed and restoring the electricity supply in villages.
There are many such results to the credit of sangathans in Mewat. The collaborative effort of sangathan women is an effect of the trainings provided by Sehgal Foundation.
With an aim to highlight the achievements of sangathan women and provide them a platform to interact with government officials, Sehgal Foundation organized an interface workshop in December 2014. Deputy Commissioner of Mewat Ashok Sangwan and Civil Surgeon Dr B K Rajora attended the workshop. They interacted with the women and inspired them to work harder toward community development.
The government officials shared some health-related good practices with the women, such as eating a balanced diet, and discussed the importance of toilets. They motivated the women to avail benefits under Swachh Bharat Mission (sanitation program) and Janani Suraksha Yojna (scheme for women welfare).
The interface workshop served as a tool to increase confidence among women and motivate them to work collaboratively to solve community issues and lay a development roadmap for their village.