Savala was born and raised in Nairobi. He received his B.Sc. agriculture at the University of Nairobi. He worked for the Department of Soil Science at the University of Nairobi and Homegrown Kenya Ltd as a research assistant. Later in the same year, Savala enrolled for a M.Sc. degree with support from the Rockefeller Foundation at the University of Nairobi. During his M.Sc., Dr. Savala also took a Graduate Certificate course in Social, Environmental and Political Challenges in Nature Conservation at Arava Institute of Environmental Studies in Israel. After completing his M.Sc., Dr. Savala joined Forum for Organic Resource Management and Agricultural Technologies (FORMAT) in Kenya as a research Project Coordinator and Farm Liaison Officer. For a period of seven years at FORMAT, Savala held several positions including Soil Science Team Leader in collaboration with Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Monitoring and Evaluation specialist with the United Nations of Nairobi Conference Services (UNON-CS) on the Carbon neutral project. Before leaving FORMAT for his Ph.D. program, Savala served as the Research Coordinator for improvement of organic resources management for agricultural production in Kenya while also doubling as a Deputy Director for the organization. Later, Savala joined the North Carolina State University for a Ph.D. Soil Science program. After his Ph.D. program he served as a monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEAL) Consultant and Team Leader for the Early Impact Assessment of the N2Africa project at International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Dr. Savala then joined International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in 2013 as a Project Manager/Postdoctoral Fellow-Soil Science, Crop Physiology and Agronomy. For almost nine years at IITA Savala served in other capacities such as the Senior Associate Research Scientist in Mozambique and occasionally as the country representative. Dr. Savala has led execution of several successful agronomic research projects at IITA and in various African countries. Savala commands a good knowledge in soil health and agronomic research within farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa. He worked widely with smallholder farmers and other agricultural research and development stakeholders on soil health and seed systems to develop innovative agronomic packages, capacity building and dissemination of improved management practices for advancing Africa’s agricultural productivity.
Prior to joining APNI, Dr. Savala was an independent consultant for agricultural and environmental projects working with Kenya government, private companies (e.g., Regen on organo-mineral fertilizer formulation) and petroleum companies studying soil pollution remediation of underground water movement to determine pollutants flow direction. Over time, he has fostered good partnership with research programs with various international organization, national research and extension systems, Universities and development agencies across Africa through establishment and execution of collaborative agricultural research for development projects. Dr. Savala’s main research interests focus on soil health and plant nutrition management, farming and seed systems and capacity building for agricultural development. Savala has a good command in biometrics and pedometrics for advancing agronomic research. His special focus is on improving soil health and crop productivity in Africa. He has authored 25 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, several book chapters, extension publications and edited a book on Organic Resource Management in Kenya. Savala also supervised numerous M.Sc. and Ph.D. students from several African universities.