Abeyou Worqlul became a Borlaug LEAP Fellow in the Winter of 2012. His research on improving the efficiency of rainfall was aimed at increasing food safety in Ethiopia. One of the goals of this proposal was to plan best management practices more effectively by promoting infiltration and decreasing runoff and the associated soil loss on those water-short parcels upslope, as well as either increasing runoff without causing more erosion or improving drainage on those lands downslope that are periodically saturated during the rainy season.
Mr. Worqlul believes that Ethiopia's best hope for increasing food production is by increasing the efficiency of rainwater collection in order to produce more 'green' water available for crop use (with groundwater storage that also can enhance water availability for human use). He indicated that this can be achieved by storing more rainfall in drier soils, making water available during the critical inter-monsoonal rainless periods. This also will reduce runoff and thus cut erosion.
Mr. Worqlul’s research focuses on the Blue Nile Basin (three small watersheds), in Ethiopian highlands under the supervision of Dr. Charlotte Macalister at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The research aims to contribute to the Nile Basin Development Challenge Team, particularly in assessing and anticipating the consequences of innovation in Rainwater Management Systems, which is a fully interdisciplinary research and development project at IWMI. Eventually, these projects and other projects at IWMI intend to improve the livelihoods of poor farmers in Ethiopia. Mr. Worqlul also worked with Dr. Tammo Steenhuis, who is a respected professor and researcher at Cornell University. He served as Mr. Worqlule's mentor and advisor throughout the fellowship and continues to advise his PhD studies.