WINNIPEG, MB, FEBRUARY 1, 2021 – On Tuesday, February 9, 2021 the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) will host the official launch of International Development Week 2021: Go for the Goals. International Development Week is an annual initiative designed to raise awareness of Canadians working in partnership with organizations around the world to reduce poverty and provide humanitarian assistance. This year MCIC will mark the official launch of IDW 2021 online due to COVID-19 restrictions. During the online launch the international work of MCIC’s member organizations will be shared through videos featuring their partners around the world. Interactive trivia challenges and a message from Manitoba’s Minister of Education will also be a part of the event. A highlight of this year’s launch will be the premiere of a spoken word poem titled “Water is Life!”. Addressing the issue of safe access to water for Canada’s indigenous communities as a basic human right, this poem was written, performed and illustrated by three engaged and outspoken youth in the care of MacDonald Youth Services.

MCIC’s annual Voices for Change program brings together the power of Manitoba youth and poetry, using spoken word as a catalyst for expression and positive change. With assistance from MCIC and spoken word artists Steve Locke and Kayla Fernandez, the youth poets wrote and recorded a collaborative poem during virtual workshops conducted during Manitoba’s ‘code red’ lockdown. Throughout the sessions, Liam, Thomas, and Colten were intent on raising awareness about how boil-water advisories and lack of water access impact Manitoba's Indigenous community in Shoal Lake.

“Voices for Change provides a platform for Manitoba youth to have their voices heard. Our intention is to empower, support, and give space for the boys to speak out and bring awareness to important issues through creative expression,” shares Anna Kroeker, Public Engagement Specialist for MCIC. “We're at a pivotal point in history where youth mobilization and youth voice are challenging governments, policies, and changing the status quo. The international impact of youth poet Amanda Gorman’s performance at President Biden’s inauguration shows us that it’s incredibly important to give youth the space to creatively express themselves and speak out. That’s what Voices for Change is all about,” states Kroeker.

The poets themselves will not be available for comment due to restrictions on their ability to participate in publicity events. However, pre-recorded audio statements will be available to press at request. Steve Locke, Kayla Fernandez, and Anna Kroeker will be available for comment.

Register for the launch


  • Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC)
  • Hon. Cliff Cullen, Minister of Education
  • MCIC Member and Partners: CUSO International; Make Music Matter; Tear Fund; Fund for Innovation and Transformation
  • Youth from MacDonald Youth Services


Tuesday, February 9, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (CT) *Program begins promptly at 12:00 p.m.


Online via ZOOM | R.S.V.P via this link:
Photo, video and interview opportunities will be available after the event with Steve Locke, Kayla Fernandez, or Anna Kroeker. YouTube link to “Water is Life!” will be available after the event.


The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) is a coalition of Manitoba-based organizations involved in international development. Its mission is to support, connect and amplify the work of its members and partners, while directly engaging and collaborating with Manitobans for global sustainability. MCIC develops and delivers tools, resources, and assistance designed to help Manitoba schools and educators contribute to international development, the Sustainable Development Goals and fair trade. MCIC is also responsible for distributing Government of Manitoba funds designated for international development and humanitarian projects.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Tyler Andrade,
Communications Specialist
Office: 204-987-6420 | Cell phone: 204-391-4885