Manzanas del Cuidado (Care Blocks)

Bogotá, Colombia (2022-2023)

Project Goal

  1. Identify built and social environmental facilitators and barriers influencing caregivers’ experiences, perceptions and access to Ciudad Bolivar’s Care Block
  2. Document the community-led advocacy process and the public institutions' engagement within the program to further advance the potential benefits of the Care Block program
  3. Examine whether virtual and augmented reality tools can enhance engagement among citizen scientists and decision makers to facilitate short-term and long-term solutions for the community


Guiding Question 

On your path from your home to the Care Block, what makes it easy or difficult to get to the program?

Project Description

In Bogotá, Colombia, four out of ten women dedicate more than one hour per day to unpaid care work compared to one out of ten men (Tribín et al., 2023). Furthermore, on average, women spend eight hours a day on this type of work compared to two hours a day for men (Tribín et al., 2023). Unpaid care work has been associated with increased risk for stress-related health conditions as well as increased depression and quality of life. To address this issue, Bogotá’s district implemented Manzanas del Cuidado (MDC; translated to Care Blocks), an innovative public program that aims to provide services for low-income unpaid caregivers and the individuals they care for, including children, people with disabilities, and older adults in a walkable radius. These services include middle/high school educational opportunities, psychosocial support, and recreational/physical activity programs. Currently, there are 20 MDC facilities in 17 administrative areas of Bogotá as well as 2 mobile units and home-to-home care service. This research project seeks to gather the perspectives of 21 unpaid caregivers from Ciudad Bolivar, a low-income administrative area of Bogotá, assessing the facilitators and barriers to access a Care Block facility, Manitas, in Ciudad Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia.

Population Characteristics

21 unpaid caregivers (20 women and 1 man) from Ciudad Bolivar, Bogotá, Colombia. Among them, 61.91% had finished high school and 19.05% had professional, technical or technological studies. They reported dedicating a median of 13.50 hours a day to unpaid caregiving (IQR = 9.00-15.75) and had a median of two dependents (IQR =1-3), of which 52.38% were children, 38.10% elderly, and 33.33% people with disabilities.

Outcomes from Walk Audits

  • 21 unpaid care workers between the ages of 29 and 79 years (mean = 53)
  • 21 data collection walks recorded over the span of 21 days (6/21/22-7/12/22)
  • 257 photos and audio recordings were captured/processed to determine facilitators and barriers to accessing Manzanas del Cuidado in Ciudad Bolívar
  • 79 facilitators and 178 barriers were identified

Strengths Identified

  • Services and facilities of the Care Block (N=35/79)
  • Good number of transport alternatives (N=14/79)
  • Adequate quality of sidewalks and roads in the area surrounding the Care Block (N=11/79)

Barriers & Areas for Improvement Identified

  • Poor quality and lack of sidewalks and roads, especially for people with disabilities and older adults (N=64/178)
  • Perception insecurity regarding robberies, sale and consumption of psychoactive substances and lack of illumination on the roads at night (N=41/178)
  • High risk of road collisions due to a lack of sidewalks, heavy traffic and car speed (N=17/178)

Outcomes from Community Meeting

  • 19 participants came together to review each other’s data and brainstorm key themes from the collected photos and comments. After categorizing the data into key themes, participants generated short and long-term solutions.
    • 12 participants engaged in the traditional Our Voice community meeting
    • 9 participants engaged with virtual reality goggles to explore locations that their fellow citizen scientists documented using the Discovery Tool (in addition to generating themes and solutions).


Manzanas del Cuidado (Care Blocks) Virtual Reality Demo

As a part of the "Imagine" step of the Our Voice method, the UniAndes team piloted the use of virtual reality to better visualize the perspectives of unpaid caregivers in Bogotá.

To learn more, watch a demo the the Care Blocks virtual reality experience!

Citizen Scientist Perspectives:

  • “Manzanas del Cuidado has been a very good opportunity for us to take care of ourselves. The adults who have had to work all their lives did not have the opportunity to dedicate themselves to their own goals. As a result, we had to look out for the sustenance of the people in our houses, without taking on other projects.”
  • “Manzanas del Cuidado also has childcare services, to take care of the children while the mommies or the people are in the courses or in activities."
  • “The process with the teachers [at Manzanas del Cuidado] is very good. I can understand them. On the subject of the others, everyone treats us very kindly, I am very happy to be able to finish my bachelor's degree. Thank God we can be taking advantage of the opportunities they are giving us.”

People and Collaborators

Project Lead: 



  • Universidad de los Andes
  • Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (SALURBAL)

Point of Contact for More Information:

  • Lina María Gómez García:

Associated References

Our Voice Impact

"This experience has changed my life.  I see inadequacies everywhere I go as it relates to pedestrian access and safety.  I even stop [at] construction sites to remind them to be considerate of the handicapped in our community.  Thank you all so much for this awareness and empowerment to require change."

~ Pam Jiner, GirlTrek Advocacy Leader, Denver CO