CNN: South African Kiara Nirghin, 16, won Google’s Community Impact Award for creating a super absorbent polymer that could be used to combat the nation’s crippling drought crisis.
South Africa’s worst drought in recorded history has left eight of the country’s nine provinces in a state of disaster, with thousands of communities and millions of households facing water shortages.
Trial and error
As a regional winner, Nirghin has been assigned a mentor from Google to work with her on developing the polymer, and hopes it could be tested in the field. She will soon discover if she is one of the tech giant’s sixteen global finalists.
“If the idea was commercialized and applied to real farms and real crops I definitely think the impact that drought has on crops would be reduced,” she says.
The teenager, whose hero is the Indian agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan, has many more ideas, including a proposal to dye the skins of endangered animals to discourage poaching.