Silvya Kananu

Silvya Kananu

Project Lead
Africa, Civil Society, Education, Youth

Silvya is the project lead for USAID’s Youth Excel project, which seeks to empower youth and youth-serving organizations to use implementation research to strengthen local, national, and global development solutions.

In this role, Silvya serves as part of the core leadership team, provides strategic and technical leadership, and further serves as a liaison with USAID, IREX’s consortium, and key Youth Excel stakeholders that include youth-led and youth-serving organizations and local public- and private-sector officials.

Prior to joining IREX, Silvya worked as a director of East Africa Programs at Sinapis, where she oversaw programs focused on entrepreneurship training and job creation for youth, women, and adults in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. In her tenure, over 30,000 people were positively impacted from jobs created by the program beneficiaries. Through her partnership development efforts, she was instrumental in bringing on board new cross-sectoral partners and expanding Sinapis’s regional reach and impact.

Silvya has experience with starting new enterprises and programs supported by foundations and bilateral donors. In her earlier working years, Silvya specialized in marketing and communications where she worked in brand management at Unilever and in media strategy at WPP-Scangroup. Silvya holds an MSc in innovation management and entrepreneurship (distinction) from the University of Manchester and a bachelor of commerce (first class honors) from the University of Strathmore.