Kimly (15)Savid (17), Sreymai (16), and Seak Eng (15), pictured with their mentors, are four young women from Cambodia tackling climate change right now

Fighting climate change doesn’t always happen on the global scale – sometimes the best starting place is our own streets. Avogadro, a team of 15-17 year-old girls in Cambodia, developed an app to fight air pollution in Phnom Penh. The app, Pou-Cyclo, encourages alternative transportation over cars and motorcycles, tackling rising greenhouse gas emissions and worsening air quality, all by tapping into a unique part of Khmer culture.

Pou-Cyclo, an app fighting pollution on a hyper-local level

Pou-Cyclo encourages users to take Cyclos instead of driving and makes finding a nearby Cyclo easier. Cyclos are a traditional Khmer vehicle similar to a pedicab, and while they remain popular with tourists, locals don’t use them very much. “It’s hard for people to find them” Seak explains. Booking a Cyclo poses further challenges, and the girls explain that younger locals especially default to cars and motorcycles. By meeting these commuters’ expectations for easy-to-find transport with their app, which collects and organizes information about booking Cyclos, the girls hope to shift the tide towards more sustainable choices.

Climate change and air pollution hit close to home for these young women – in 2018, Cambodia ranked 164th out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index for air quality. The toll of that pollution is illness, and even death, particularly for young children. So, these young climate activists are fighting back. With Pou-Cyclo promoting cleaner and more sustainable transportation these young women fight for a cleaner city, and a cleaner world. Their localized approach to a much bigger issue is proof that sometimes the best first step is just starting.

Join Avogadro and change the world, starting where you are

Sreymai, Savid, Seak Eng, and Kimly decided to tackle an immense global problem by focusing on a very local effect of that problem – air pollution – and finding a very local solution – tapping into the unique transportation culture of Phnom Penh. How about you – what global problem will you help solve? What specific but powerful solution can you dream up? What will your first step be?

There’s still time to answer these questions with Technovation Families or Technovation Girls. Sign up today and use technology to solve a problem you care about – or become a mentor to young people and their families and support them as they learn and create.