Recently, on 22nd June, Gurgaon team organized the second stakeholders’ meeting. The meeting was attended by 8 members from Sultanpur village, including two women representatives, and 4 members from Jhanjhrola Khera. PHED was represented by 1 Sub-divisional Engineer (SDE), 2 Junior Engineers and 2 staff from admin. One of the highlights of the meeting was participation by women representatives from villages. In order to mobilise women representatives from Jhanjhrola Khera and Sultanpur, team members from Gurgaon visited both the villages. In Sultanpur, team members could interact with couple of women Panchs from the village. They were told about the rationale behind organizing the stakeholders’ meeting. They agreed to come to the meeting and also assured that another woman Panch would also come on the day of the meeting. The team members then moved to Jhanjhrola Khera in order to interact with women representatives from the village. In Jhanjhrola Khera, team members spoke to couple of women Panchs and were ensure their participation on the day of the workshop. There were indications that another woman Panch from Jhanjhrola Khera would also come.
On the day of the workshop, a vehicle had been arranged to get women from the village and then drop them back after the meeting. Surprisingly, none of the women Panchs from Jhanjhrola Khera agreed to come for the meeting. One of them said that she had to go to a doctor, whereas the other one simply did not want to travel such a long distance and come to Gurgaon! Eventually, on the day of the meeting, two women Panchs from Sultanpur village came for the meeting. One of the women, amongst the two, belonged to a low caste, but she was able to put forward her points during the meeting. She raised the issue that in Sultanpur village, there was no water connections or pipes beyond the railway line, which was making it difficult for women in this section of village to access water. By the end of the meeting, PHED officials had agreed to survey this particular area and if satisfied with the water quality would arrange for setting a tubewell. The team considers this as an achievement, as women representatives generally do not have any say, even during Panchayat meetings, when they are represented by their male counterparts. However, during the second stakeholders’ meeting they were provided a platform to voice their opinion and by the end of the meeting, the team felt that they could actively do so.