Trainings for Nonviolent Actions


There is an increased demand for nonviolence trainings. Exactly what is needed depends on the goal and experience of the participants. Training may include learning from the history of nonviolent social change, dealing with conflict, deescalation, group process, preparing to engage in nonviolent direct action

Training is a participatory process of preparing people for action. It takes time to do this. While an Introduction to Nonviolent Action can be a two hour workshop to prepare people to vigil and demonstrate, especially at a time of tension and conflict,  Nonviolent Direct Action Preparation takes longer to ensure people understand what it means to risk arrest if that is their choice. 

Check these resources from Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns before setting up a training:



An Introduction to Nonviolent Action in 2-3 hours:
This training is an opportunity to prepare for participating in demonstrations for people who are new to nonviolent action. It is not preparation for participating in civil disobedience, which is a longer training.




Nonviolence Training: Nonviolent Direct Action Preparation Agenda in 4-5 hours: When organizing for direct actions, you need a strong Preparation Agenda. WRL offers an annotated agenda for trainers to prepare people who are considering engaging in nonviolent direct action and for people who want to participate in nonviolent actions but not risk arrest.

This agenda includes links to handouts and resources, as well as: exploring what is meant by nonviolent direct action (NVDA), an overview of the scenarios and the action structure, and understanding your rights and the potential consequences of nonviolent direct action, including the arrest process.


Learning from the Nashville Campaign Workshop Agenda: This 2 hour workshop shows the power of nonviolence training, how strategic planning was used in the struggle against racial segregation and how it can be used today. Using the film “Nashville: We Were Warriors” from the series “A Force More Powerful”, followed by exercises, participants explore how to develop strategic nonviolent campaigns.


Exercises that help us learn from the history of strategic nonviolent action + begin to practice nonviolent action:

Additional exercises can be found in the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns (See Handbooks in Organizing for Effective Actions.)



War Resisters League offers trainings on a range of topics. Please contact us at wrl [at] if you are interested in hosting a speaker, or organizing or attending a training.

If you have experience as a nonviolence/direct action trainer and would like to be added to our Trainers Directory, contact Joanne Sheehan at joanne [at]

"I learned that you can really fight the powers-that-be with nonviolent action and coordinate how effective we can be through training,"
-Julian Larson, LGBTQ +Youth Kickback, at WRL's Training for Trainers

For more testimonials from powerful organizers who attended WRL's Training for Trainers in 2014:



If you want to be a NVDA Trainer, this is the path you can follow to get there!     

  1. Experience going to large actions, smaller direct actions and non-/arrestable actions.
  2. Attend nonviolence trainings including a 6-8 hour NVDA preparation training (with affinity group structure and  legal section).
  3. Experience being in arrestable direct actions.
  4. Develop good facilitate skills
  5. Attend a Training for Trainers (either organize a group of those who are eligible or keep an eye out for T4Ts in your region). Contact wrl [at] for more information.
  6. Be a NVDA Trainer! Continue to work with other trainers to develop your skills.