Relationships are where transformation happens. Transformational Development focuses on the development of personhood in community and through community, understanding that the Holy Spirit works in both persons and communities through relationships.
That’s why Coptic Orphans is a volunteer-based, and church-based organization. Church-based volunteerism sets the stage for the most authentic relationships possible: those relationships are rooted in the deepest parts of life, the liturgical life together, and are without ulterior motive. And so the role of Coptic Orphans, as a Transformational Development NGO, is to maximize the impact of those relationships through its professional expertise.
Chris Sudgen at Oxford says it well:
Communities operate through institutions. We cannot access the community as a whole without working through entities and institutions. These institutions are rooted in the culture. They belong. NGOs are not mediating institutions. So how do we work with mediating institutions? The Church is a mediating institution, part of the community landscape, committed to the community, rooted in the culture. [The role of NGOs] …should be to encourage the church to be holistic, to build up its life, and to be a part of it. (“Transformational Development: Current State of Understanding and Practice,” Transformation 20:2, (April 2003) p. 72)