Sample Agendas

Agenda for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training

Accompaniment Training Agenda

Agenda for Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training

Welcome, Agenda review, description of process (5 min)

(Trainer is a facilitator, group also should practice nonviolence by being aware of good group process:encourage people to be on time after breaks, respect all in the group, don't interrupt others, if you are a talker, practice listening skills, if you are a listener, practice your speaking skills, be gender conscious, you have the right to pass, have fun.)

Introductions (15 - 20 min)

Go around to do introductions. Name, what brought you to this training, what they most want to get out of this training.

Brief history of nonviolent direct action (20 min)

Focus on actions that incorporate nonviolence training, affinity groups, and the consensus decision-making process. Ask participants to briefly tell of nonviolent actions that have used this model. Describe the plans for this action, and information about the campaign it is part of.

Hassle line (10 min)

Do a quick hassle; draw on previous discussion where possible.

Affinity group formation (15 min)

(Handbook pages 8 & 9) Define affinity groups and how they work in this action. Forming the affinity groups early helps participants bond, practice working together. What are the natural affinities in the group? If it is a small group, is it one affinity group? Are there support people and those willing to risk arrest? Use affinity groups for small group work when possible.

In affinity groups, encourage people to express their fears, feelings and concerns about the action (15-min).  

Make a list of those items to make sure they get addressed. So that people don't worry about those fears throughout the training, quickly answer any that need to be answered immediately, and assure them you will cover all the items on the list during the training.

Nonviolence (60 min)

(Handbook pages 4-7) Since there is no one "correct" definition of nonviolence, the goal of this section should be to bring out a variety of definitions, history, and concrete examples of nonviolence to give participants a better understanding of how to practice nonviolence. Here is a list of suggestions that include brainstorms, discussions, hassle lines and small group work that can be done during this time.)

Review nonviolence guidelines for the action (5-min).

Be clear that these are not definitions of nonviolence, but an agreement among activists.)

Hassle lines (20-30 min).  

To explore techniques for de-escalating volatile situations. Do at least two to give people the experience of being in a hassle/conflict. Make sure to have the group discuss each hassle line, prompting them with questions. Some ideas for situations: (1) a conflict between someone who strongly disagrees with nonviolence guidelines and someone who supports them - (2) dealing with another demonstrator who is becoming angry, frustrated, leaning towards violence - (3) a confrontation between someone nonviolently blocking an entrance and someone who wants to get by.

Brainstorm "what is nonviolence" (5-10 min)

Discuss the brainstorm (10-15 min)

Make sure the discussion talks about the power of nonviolence, nonviolence as a philosophy and nonviolent techniques, touching on CD in the context of a campaign.

In affinity groups discuss 1 or more of the following: (10 -15 min each)

* how to deal nonviolently with situations in an action (be concrete and give examples that arose)

* quotes on nonviolence (Pages 6 & 7 in Handbook) - how does this apply to what we re doing?

* Using Barbara Deming's quote (page 7) describing the power of nonviolence as using two hands, have the group further describe the two hands.

* Review "Nonviolent Response to Personal Violence" (page 5 in Handbook).

* Describe nonviolent methods of direct action. What is meant by the power of nonviolence? Ask people to say a little about issues that arose in their small group discussions.

Do a go around, asking each person to say one thing about what nonviolence means to them.

Facilitator makes any final comments needed to end this section, reminding people that all of the agenda addresses various aspects of nonviolence is used in an action.

Oppression (30 min).  

This section should lay the groundwork for good group process and organizing, and builds on the nonviolence section. Handbook pages 18 to 27 have articles on various forms of oppression, page 18 is also useful.

Brainstorm what oppression looks like in groups (prompt people to think of what they witnessed or felt oppression) Discuss how to overcome oppression (in small groups, with quick report back). Do hassle lines, brainstorm or discussion around issues of oppression related to the action being prepared for, discuss potential occurrences or activities to look out for and how to deal with them.

Group Process (50 min).

Participants need to understand the decision-making being used for this action, and understand the importance of good group process in our work.

* Pizza Role Play (10 min)

*Consensus Rap - (page 10 in Handbook) consensus decision making for this action (10 min)

* Role Play and discussion - Affinity groups in a pre-action preparation meeting. (15min)

* Small groups role play- quick decision exercise at action site and discuss (15 min)

Legal (30 - 45 min)

* Go through Legal System Flowchart so people understand process and their options (page 12 of Handbook).

* Talk about bail solidarity, jail experiences, make sure to have time to answer their questions. (30 min)

If time:

* Role-play arrest, processing choices i.e. going limp at time of arrest, bail solidarity. (15 min)

Role Plays (30 - 60 min)

Role play various scenarios and discuss Suggestions: People are treated roughly when arrested, someone having an asthma attack while in custody, dealing with tear gas, etc., Booking arrest

Have their concerns been addressed? What are the next steps for the Affinity Groups? (10 min)

Evaluation of training

Note: This agenda takes about 6 hours when you include breaks.

Prepared by Joanne Sheehan and amended by Kate Donnelly, War Resisters League/New England, PO Box 1093, Norwich, CT 06360. Phone & fax: 860-889-5337. Email:

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• Note: This agenda is used when training people to accompany people who are at risk.

• Source:

Accompaniment Training

Nonviolence Training Session, Sept. 29, 2001



Introductions (15 minutes)
• Introduce trainer
• Go round on question: "What brought you here today?
• Say name.
• Have group repeat names after each person.

10:15 Objectives (2)
1. Explore what makes a peacemaker.
2. Review basics of nonviolence
3. Deciding what kind of power to use
4. Explore the differences between violence and nonviolence.
5. Explore cultural issues
6. Explore the consequences of action options
7. Amplify our creativity
8. Prepare to act in the face of fear
9. Write our own scripts
10:17 Ground Rules (2)
We will listen to each other with respect
We will respect the facilitator(s)
We will give this work our best effort
We will raise hands to be recognized
We don't have to come to consensus on matters of philosophy

What Makes A Peacemaker? (36)
I. Closed Eye Process (15)
• Questions for show of hands: How many of you consider yourselves effective peacemakers? How many wish you were more effective peacemakers? - Break into small groups (3-5 people)
• Close your eyes and get comfortable. Breathe deeply. ·
• Remember a time when you were an effective peacemaker. What was happening? What did you do? How did you feel? What details do you remember?
• What quality or characteristic inside you enabled you to do that?
II. Small Group Sharing on question: what did you learn from that experience? (1 min./person.) (6)
III. Large group: What peacemaking principles can we derive from our experiences? (15)

10:56 Pieces of the Truth Exercise (15)
11:15 Working with Power (45)
Three types: Brainstorm power words, put in 3 columns, determine category headings. (15)
12:00 Lunch (45)
12:45 Violence vs. Nonviolence exercise (30)
1:15 Cultural Issues (discussion with Bishara Costandi) (30)
1:45 Oppression Line exercise (15)
Skin color, religion, gender, sexual preference, imperfect body, popularity, political opinions
2:00 Action Options (2 hr. + 10 min. break) ·
• Brainstorm possible activities
• Roleplay 2 scenarios (or more, 1 scary)
• Debrief: How can we be more creative about writing our own scripts?
4:10 Hot Buttons (brainstorm) (10)
4:20 What have we learned? (15 min. discussion)
4:35 Next steps? (15)
4:50 Evaluation
5:00 Adjourn with affirmations in the circle

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