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Abstract

In Egypt, early-marriage is implicated as a barrier to educational access for girls living in rural areas. It is understood to impede women’s access to education and the labor market. This paper focuses on Ishraq, a second chance girls’ education initiative brought on by the Girls Education Initiative-Egypt. Using a critical poststructural conceptual framework, this paper examines how individuals associated with the Ishraq program engage in social contests concerning the relationship between marriage and education by employing a qualitative case study approach grounded in ethnographic methodological considerations. This essay argues participant’s view religious life as the single most important consideration in articulating and enacting their conceptions of community development and girl’s empowerment, providing a framework for understanding the relationship between marriage and education. These perspectives demonstrate how participants navigate certain structural realities in their lives and the strategies they employ in localizing the designed affects of the Ishraq program.