Kiara Nirghin: Young and Innovative

by Jennifer Yoshikoshi from United States

151551Kiara Nirghin at the Commemoration of International Women's Day 2019 at United NationsUN Women/Ryan Brown, just 16-years-old Kiara Nirghin took the worldwide struggle of drought and created a way for agriculture to thrive despite lack of water. She proposed a solution that would increase the chances for plants to grow during droughts while also improving the environment and improving food insecurity. Nirghin was inspired to think of a solution when she learned about how the droughts in her home country of South Africa were affecting farmers and larger communities.

Nirghin, herself, faced the impacts of the drought when she developed a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite. She was sick for over a year but took this time to dive into her passion for science and research ways to battle the drought. Harnessing creativity and perseverance, Nirghin was able to develop a solution by taking her own initiative. She invented a biodegradable material made of just avocado and orange peels that could hold 300 times its weight in water when planted in soil. This solution won her the Google Science Fair and the Community Impact Award in 2016. The world saw her ideas as revolutionary and Nirghin began to be recognized as an inspirational figure for women in technology. 

Since 2016, Nirghin has accomplished so much more. She’s given TED Talks on the potential everyone has to create change, spoken at the United Nations Observance of International Women's Day in 2019, and has been invited by Forbes to speak about her invention. Nirghin is out in the world representing the strength that women have in bringing change to the world. As a woman in STEM, she’s used her recognition in the science world to advocate for more young girls to be supported in the world of STEM. She encourages young innovators to strive for success regardless of where they come from, what resources they have, and what struggles they’ve faced. 

Nirghin has not only spoken out about the gender divide and inequities within science, but she has also written an autobiography about it. In 2019, she published her book 'Youth Revolution #BeTheChange', focusing on her journey to winning the award from Google but also touching on the lack of diversity in the science world. Nirghin is changing the way that the world views scientists. In a field that is known to be dominated by white males, Nirghin is breaking the stereotype of what a successful woman in STEM looks like. She serves as a role model to younger generations but Nirghin herself draws inspiration from other accomplished women such as the Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai. Her story and achievements join the rankings of other powerful women in history.

Page created on 4/23/2023 6:11:52 AM

Last edited 4/28/2023 3:49:28 PM

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Related Links

Kiara Nirghin - This is Nirghin's website that includes her story, her accomplishments, and features.


Herh, Kala. Kiara Nirghin is Fighting For Gender Equality in STEM. [Online] Available

Corona, Isabella. Kiara Nirghin: A Young Innovator Reimagining What a Scientist Looks Like. [Online] Available

Caruso, Catherine. Teen Wins Big for a Homemade Polymer. [Online] Available