This parabolic trough bread-making oven in operation at the Bethel Business and Community Development Centre in Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa, has been in service since 2004. It is used to operate a cottage bread baking enterprise. In the background is a box cooker in service since 1988, getting the job done day after day. BBCDC is a commercial and technical school located in a remote rural district of Lesotho that began operations in 1993 on barren land with institutional support from UNICEF and the local RC Mission Church.
BBCDC addresses several thorny and interdependent development problems, including: educational innovation, landscape regeneration and water resources improvement, financial independence, adoption of renewable energy platforms, appropriate technology, and design of the built environment for sustainability. The school's primary mission is to provide skills and knowledge to young men and women for well- being and self-reliance through experiential learning. BBCDC stresses the design, assembly, operation and management of complex systems as a vital driver of wealth, value and order creation. While the surrounding landscape reflects moderate to severe land degradation along with high levels of underemployment, BBCDC has proven that science and technology for hydraulic control and application, together with solar energy utilization can sustain strong economic growth and opportunity when coupled with business acumen. Light industry, tourism, and food processing provide additional opportunities. Careful design and establishment of the built environment breaks vicious circles and replaces them with virtuous ones.