Up and Away Travel is a travel organisation run by Karen Withey. Whatever your destination, whether you are travelling alone, as a group, a family or a couple, whether you are celebrating a special occasion, a family holiday, a get away with friends, or perhaps just some well needed downtime at a place and destination of your choosing. Karen will help, guide and support the process of finding the break, holiday or trip that meets all the expectations you have!

Karen's business transforms lives. Literally! With every booking that Karen makes, she helps to support a community across the world with access to safe water through Just a Drop.

How will Up and Away make a difference? 

Machakos County in Kenya is an area that is subject to severe drought and communities lack access to water for drinking, growing crops and rearing livestock.

Women and children are forced to trek long distances to fetch water twice a day; this means that women are unable to receive their own income, and children often miss out on school because their priority is to support their household. The water that is collected is unsafe, so even when water is available, it can make communities ill, and prevent children from attending school. People exist in a state of real poverty and acute hardship, with high levels of illness caused by drinking dirty water.

With your support, we will work with the village of Kavoko to construct a sand dam, provide hygiene education, train communities to make and sell soap and develop a programme of sustainable agriculture.

This sustainable project will support 1050 people for years to come.

A sand dam is a rubble cement wall constructed across a seasonal river. When the rain falls during the rainy season, the dam traps the water which is then filtered through the sand and naturally cleaned. We build a shallow well and pump so that the safe water can be easily extracted all year round to meet the communities’ needs.

The sand dam provides a large volume of water, which we will utilise to implement a comprehensive food security and livelihood programme. Through this, we train the community in new farming skills, diversifying crops and improving yield, dig terraces, provide tools, distribute seeds and drought-resistant crops, and plant trees. We also train the community to grow an excess of produce to sell at market, as well as in bookkeeping skills, so as to create income and improve livelihoods.

Further, the project actively mitigates climate change, which severely impacts those who already have a precarious source of water. In Kenya, extreme weather patterns are increasing with droughts especially becoming more common, lasting for longer and rain fall decreasing. Sand dams preserve the water across the year, it doesn't evaporate or become polluted, so safe water is available and food sources able to be maintained. To add to this, the terracing on the land around sand dams ensures that during the rainy season, the water is absorbed into the land, and the topsoil remains, rather than being washed away.

Only 1-2% of water from the river is stored in the sand dam meaning that communities further down stream are in no way effected by the dam.


  • Year round supply of safe water: improving health as water-related diseases decrease, alongside expensive related medical costs
  • Sustainable agricultural activities can be practiced: improving food productionincreasing food security and decreasing malnutrition
  • Poverty will decrease due to an increase in income through selling excess crops and soap
  • Improved soil and water conservation: enabling the community to become more resilient to the effects of climate change
  • Improved knowledge of good hygiene practices and therefore health, particularly benefiting women and girls through improved MHM
  • Women and children in particular will benefit as they no longer have to fetch water and can spend time in school or employment

Support Up and Away Travel to reach more people with safe water and sanitation by donating below: