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Guidelines | September 1, 2014

Standards and Guidance for the use of the films "Out of the Shadows" and "Red Top, Blue Top"

This publication is intended to provide a quick reference to organizations using the films Out of the Shadows and Red Top, Blue Top which were created in partnership between No Strings International (NSI) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The films aim to support emotional and social resilience of children affected by the Syrian crisis and intergroup conflict within Egypt. The guide is not a substitute for a complete training in the films and methodologies. Rather, it establishes basic minimum standards that have been identified by a Core Team of implementing organizations to ensure effective and appropriate use of the NSI tools, and offers guidance tips on how to put these standards into practice. These standards and guidance have been developed based on Core Team members’ experiences to date using the films and puppet methods in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. This standards and guidance document gives current and potential implementers an idea of the conditions, inputs, and approaches needed for successful use of these films and methods. It is organized as follows:

  • Standards: A two-page summary of the standards for staffing, implementation, and challenging topics is found at the front of the publication for quick reference.
  • Guidance: Subsequent chapters provide detailed guidance for each of these standards.
  • Sample Session Plans: Sample plans are provided for a four-session series for each film for two age groups: 6 to 9 years and 10 to 12 years. This section also includes general tips on getting started, as well as tips for working with teenage children.
  • Preparation Checklist: The checklist is intended as a tool to help animators in their planning.
  • MEAL Plan and Forms: An overview of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) plan is provided, followed by monitoring and evaluation tools.

In many cases, additional how-to tips may be found in the comprehensive Facilitator’s Guide and Training Manual, published by No Strings International and CRS. The Manual also contains step-by-step instructions for nearly all of the activities outlined in the sample session plans. References to this Manual are found throughout this document. For more information on the films, please email [email protected].  


  • Introduction

  • Standards: Staffing 

  • Standards: Implementation

  • Standards: Challenging Topics

  • Guidance: Staffing

  • Guidance: Implementation 

  • Guidance: Challenging Topics

  • Sample Session Plans 

  • Preparation Checklist

  • MEAL Plan and Forms

  • MEAL Tools