When I read about Anindita Das, refugee coordinator for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, I was interested in the idea of an Extension professional focused on the refugee community. I have not heard of another Extension organization with a full-time position dedicated to serving the refugee community.
While we did discuss how and why Extension should be reaching out to the refugee community, I was surprised by how much of our conversation connected to Extension's potential to work within collective action networks.
Anindita's works with a coalition of organizations many of which have served the refugee community for years. Anindita is working to connect these organizations, help them coordinate and help them show the impact of their collective work. Her work reminded me of my conversation with Jame Bain, Noelle Harden and Stephanie Heim, in which we talked about the ways Extension could contribute to existing networks.
When Anindita talked about how the refugee organizations could help connect Extension with the refugee community, I though of my recent conversation with Jessica Beckendorf and Sandy Liang. Jessica and Sandy got connected with the veterans by working with their county veterans service officer.
Anindita had only been on the job for 6 weeks when we spoke. I really appreciate her willingness to talk about her work, when she was still figuring it out.
I hope you enjoy the conversation.