Wafa Elkhalifa and Chao Mwatela

Wafa Elkhalifa-Equitable Development Coordinator, Chao Mwatela -Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director

Wafa Elkhalifa and Chao Mwatela

Workshop: Co-Design

About Speaker

Co-Design Co-design has become a valued and effective community-centric approach to developing healthy and equitable projects, policies, and practices in the Rochester region. This presentation emphasizes the shift from designing policies and programs "for" communities to designing "with" them through equitable Community Co-Design. This process includes community members most impacted, particularly those historically excluded. Attendees will gain insights into the principles of equitable Community Co-Design and learn practical methods for embedding these principles into daily practice, enabling the translation of community insights into actionable outcomes.   Wafa Elkhalifa is the Destination Medical Center Equitable Development Coordinator. Wafa is responsible for coordinating a collaboration between DMC EDA and other community organizations and businesses in Rochester to help advance affordable housing initiatives, grow community co-design efforts, and assist the implementation of DMC EDA’s strategies through equity lens. She is responsible for fostering relationships in the Rochester community through equitable engagement, and capacity building. Wafa has her undergraduate in organizational communication from University of Minnesota. Wafa’s personal passions include growing the inclusion of diverse perspectives by creating pathways for democratic participation in the decision making of policies and procedures. She is on the board for the First Homes Program, and a member of the Cradle 2 Career Leadership Table. https://www.rochestermn.gov/ Chao Mwatela is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director for the City of Rochester, MN, where she leads efforts towards social equity within the organization and community. Her role involves assessing and implementing equitable policies, projects, and programs to foster a vibrant, inclusive community. With a background in education, Chao has experience as a K-12 teacher and a community college multicultural advisor, which informs her advocacy for equitable communities. Born and raised in Kenya, East Africa, Chao's journey began with completing the International Baccalaureate Program, sparking her passion for international education. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Winona State University. Chao’s commitment to systems-change work that aims to disrupt inequitable structural systems runs deep, both personally and professionally. Top of Form https://dmc.mn/

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