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Our work focuses on empowerment and violence prevention through specialized programs. We organize and support trainings for instructors and facilitators in self-advocacy and empowerment throughout the region. Our ESD (Self-Defense for Empowerment) methodology is based on physical activities, conversations, and pedagogical dynamics that promote self-esteem, assertive communication, and self-confidence, while preventing and de-escalating violent situations.


We offer two levels of intensive training: an initial 3-4 days to build skills and give introductory workshops, and an advanced one week to broaden knowledge and give longer workshops. In addition, we facilitate the strengthening of local leadership through webinars, workshops, mentoring programs, and alliance management, promoting collaboration and visibility. Finally, we complement this work through research to support the effectiveness of self-defense in the prevention of gender violence.

Training of Instructors/facilitators

We organize, coordinate and accompany the training of ESD instructors throughout the region. 

The methodology 

The ESD (Empowerment based self-defense) methodology has been shown to prevent and de-escalate potentially violent situations, within the paradigm of micro-aggressions and violence. Our holistic and evidence-based violence prevention education methodology focuses on physical activities, conversations and pedagogical games that develop confidence, self-esteem, assertive communication techniques, trust in instincts, as well as the identification, establishment and maintenance of one's limits. 

We work with organizations, people, institutions that are interested in taking the methodology to their communities, taking into account the various contexts and groups with which they will work, from an intersectional perspective.



Initial Self-Defense Training

This is an intensive program of 3 to 4 days (between 24 to 30 hours) where tools, techniques, and theoretical and practical knowledge are provided so that participants can teach workshops of up to 3 hours. The training is designed to work with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 12 participants.

The training is given by experts in violence prevention and self-defense with a solid background in teaching and training trainers. It includes, in addition to experiential training, online preparation workshops before the meeting. As appropriate, there is the possibility of complementing the training with an experiential workshop on the Impact methodology.

Advanced Self Defense Training 

This is a one-week intensive program (42 to 58 hours) where tools, techniques, and specific knowledge of the ESD methodology are provided. At the end of the training, participants can facilitate workshops and classes of up to 16 hours in their communities and territories. To participate in the training, participants must have completed an introductory training.

As in the initial training, the training includes theoretical and practical classes. It is a multidisciplinary training, which includes teaching the IMPACT discipline, and is designed to work with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 15 participants.


Strengthening of local leadership

RIA-LAC offers a platform for exchanging experiences and knowledge through webinars, workshops, forums, meetings, our mentoring program, partnership management, research, and collaboration.

Webinars and workshops


We sustain and nurture a community of experts in self-defense, generating a platform for exchanging experiences and knowledge to co-create tools through forums, webinars, workshops, and virtual and face-to-face meetings. "Our base is in the exchange of knowledge and experiences." Here, you can find our agenda of events open to the community. For more information, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter.


Mentoring/accompaniment program


The mentoring program focuses on facilitating spaces for professional development for six months after the initial training and one year after the advanced training.  During mentoring, participants receive continuous support from RIA Instructors with international experience in designing and adapting classes to meet the particular needs of each group and/or community.

In addition to this accompaniment, trainers/facilitators receive extensive opportunities for continuous learning through webinars, online classes and face-to-face trainings.


Alliances and partnership program

Through our platform, we manage and foster collaborations and alliances with different sectors, promoting synergy between actors, organizations, institutions, and individuals, thus materializing new projects, programs, and events. Through this program, we promote and develop advocacy and visibility strategies with different sectors, generating alliances with various organizations, institutions, and agencies and articulating with the network members. We work jointly with various local actors through alliances and collaborations with civil society organizations, development agencies, feminist movements and collectives, universities, municipalities, ministries, and other institutions. We coordinate, organize, and promote meetings, trainings, and webinars with organizations, institutions, and companies through our network of experts in violence prevention.



We generate and support the construction of data on the importance, necessity, and effectiveness of ESD as a prevention strategy.

We coordinate, facilitate, and support research on the practice of ESD in the region and around the world, exploring qualitative and quantitative data on its reach and effectiveness to strengthen skills and techniques that enable the reduction and prevention of gender-based violence. Currently, we are part of the ongoing program of The ESD Network of Universities, which aims to establish alliances and the implementation of the methodology, accompanied by research, on each of the continents.


We are also open to partnerships and collaborations with research departments seeking to monitor the methodology in the regional context of Latin America and the Caribbean. We recognize that the majority of existing research on self-defense programs comes from the United States, followed by some studies in Canada and Europe (pp. 13-14), where most ESD programs and research take place on university campuses (Brecklin, 2004; Gidycz & Dardis, 2014; Hollander, 2014; Senn et al., 2015), and thus focus on responses to sexual aggression and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) (Breckline & Ullman, 2005; Jordan & Mossman, 2019; Hollander, 2018; Santelli et al., 2018).

However, there is a clear need for more research and knowledge production on self-defense in the LAC (Abya Yala) region. We believe that new research should encompass contexts beyond university campuses, interpersonal violence, and sexual aggression prevention. Therefore, it is imperative to include an intersectional approach, creating space for narratives encompassing different bodily experiences and those of historically marginalized groups. Allowing people in the region to tell their own stories of violence and resistance helps us understand gender-based violence in a broader context using a decolonial approach (Segato, 2016; Federici, 2004; Lugones, 2010)



RIA is a diverse and enriching platform that offers programs designed to provide tools and options for women, girls, and diverse individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean, enabling them to recognize themselves as experts in their bodies and territories. The Self-Defense and Empowerment workshops provide the physical, emotional, and mental tools necessary to prevent gender-based violence and foster personal confidence. Our programs are supported by a network of expert and dedicated instructors who provide guidance and mentorship. From enhancing personal safety to promoting gender equality in diverse communities, we work to address violence in all its forms.





San José, Costa Rica

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